By ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI
Indications emerged last week that Nigeria’s Super Eagles, not minding their wonderful outing at the AFCON 2013 that ended two days ago went to South Africa on a budget sourced via loans and series of borrowings. Abuja Metro can disclose that the National Assembly did not appropriate any funds for the country’s foremost football team in the 2012 budget.
A very senior member of the Joint National Assembly Sports Committee told Abuja Metro that no fund was allocated for the Cup of Nations in the 2012 budget which should have taken care of the tournament which normally holds in January.
“There was absolutely no appropriation for the African Cup of Nations in the 2012 Appropriation Act. We are not sure whether this was an oversight on the part of either the NFF or the Sports Ministry but when we made enquiries, we were told that all friendly matches, including our campaign in South Africa were all sourced on loans,” he said.
The National Assembly, it was gathered, has only appropriated funds for the Super Eagles and their officials in the 2013 budget, which has not even been assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan. The National Assembly submitted details of the N4.987 trillion 2013 budget to the Presidency two weeks ago.
…Reps committee says it gave funding approval
By ROMANUS UGWU The chairman House Committee on Sports, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, has said his committee did everything possible to ensure the prompt approval of the fund for the prosecution of the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup including granting an anticipatory approval request to the Ministry of Sports for the tournament. Gaya made the disclosure while reacting to story that the late release of the fund forced the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to borrow heavily ahead of the tournament.
He insisted that the federation took total delivery of the approved sum between January 17 and 21, assuring that the players and officials won’t lack anything.
Asked if the late release of fund was one of the challenges the team faced, the Sports Committee boss replied: “Unfortunately, we appropriated good fund to enable the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) run its 2013 sporting programmes smoothly. Don’t forget that apart from the South Africa AFCON, we also have the U-17 in Morocco, the U-20 in Algiers and several other qualifier matches for the 2014 World Cup.”
“We thought the federation should have good funding, which we took care of, but Nigeria operates a 12 month calendar budget. As I speak with you, the national budget has not been approved. Whatever we have done to the federation would be subjected to Mr. President’s approval for the budget to come to live.
“We encouraged the federation to apply for an anticipatory approval. Some money was approved but again, there was no cash backing due to the bureaucratic stages in the Nigeria monetary fiscal policy. The parliament can only approve, which we did with the anticipatory request, but the executive takes charge of the cash backing,” he noted. He also clarified that: “The Minister of Sports applied and got approval for the cash, the Minister of Finance also approved, but they did not translate the approvals into naira and kobo.
However, there is what they call authority to incur expenses and once an establishment gets it, it can go ahead to raise money from different market avenues.” “So, if the NFF had gone to borrow within the limit of its approval, the federation has not done any wrong. We have a free market economy that gives one the opportunity to source fund from anywhere knowing full well, one has government backing.
For purpose of clarity, nobody makes 100 percent down payment in the award of contracts. Once the contract is signed, the contractor can borrow money to execute it.
“Therefore, raising fund was not too much of a problem to the federation because it knows how to go about it. Let me however, inform Nigerians that out of the $8 million meant for the tournament, the federation got above $4 million on January 17 while the rest was released on Friday January 18 or Monday January 21.
“I can assure Nigerians that money was not a challenge the team faced in South Africa. The players and officials would be very comfortable because they will get their allowances on time,” he promised.