Youth, Sports & Culture set for major cuts in new budget

Youth, Sports & Culture set for major cuts in new budget

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is set to have its budget slashed by more than $5 million in the upcoming fiscal period, the budget for 2019/2020 shows.

The upcoming budget was introduced in Parliament last Wednesday.

The bulk of the decrease is made up of cuts in the contribution to international games and the budget for the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays, which The Bahamas failed to offer the guarantee fee of $5 million that underpinned the event.

The first three installments of the World Relays where held in The Bahamas in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

The event was hosted in Yokohama, Japan in May.

The ministry will receive $22.85 million in the upcoming budget, down $5.32 million over the $28.17 million it was allocated in the current period.

According to the budget, $1.97 million was allocated for the IAAF this fiscal year.

The allocation has been reduced to $95,000 for the upcoming fiscal period, and another $100,000 in 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 respectively.

The government has budgeted $190,000 for contributions to international games — a decrease of over $800,000 compared to the $1 million allocated in the current budget.

Between July 2018 and March 2019, the government spent an estimated $55,500 on contributions to international games.

The allocation for the National Sports Authority decreased from $3 million in the current budget to $2.85 million in the upcoming budget.

The line item ‘Other Expenses’ was reduced from $400,000 to zero for the next three fiscal periods.

Aid to student athletes will decrease from $200,000 to $142,500.

The allocation for subvention to elite athletes will also be cut from $1.42 million to $1.34 million — a decrease of over $70,000.

However, the government is expected to budget $1.41 million in 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 respectively for subvention to elite athletes.

Personal emoluments for the ministry was budgeted at $6.16 million in the upcoming fiscal period, down from the $6.48 million during the current period.

This was largely due to decreases in salary for permanent and pensionable employees — from $4.8 to $4.45 million; and a reduction to risk and hazard allowance from $200,000 to $125,000.

Meanwhile, the allocation for domestic travel in the ministry increased from $21,000 to more than $541,000.

Ceremonial events, which appears to be a new line item in the ministry, was budgeted at $372,400 for 2019/2020.

Another apparent new line item — ‘Tuition, Training, In-service awards, subsistence” — was budgeted $308,750 in the upcoming budget.

‘Fees and other charges’ for the upcoming period increased by $1.32 million — from $10,000 in 2018/2019 to $1.33 million for 2019/2020.

The budget for building maintenance decreased from $225,000 to $95,000, while ground maintenance was reduced from $232,000 to $66,500.

Meanwhile, the allocation for sports field/sports facilities maintenance more than doubled, from $120,000 to $285,000.

The Youth Enterprise Fund and National Youth Program will also see budget cuts.

The fund was allocated $76,000 in 2019/2020, down from the $250,000 in the current budget cycle.

The government has allocated $123,500 for national youth programs, down from the $140,000.

Meanwhile, the National Endowment for Sports is budgeted at $1.59 million for 2019/2020, down from the $1.69 million in the current fiscal period.

Additionally, the government reduced the budget for the ‘National Dance Company’ from $150,000 in 2018/2019 to $39,500 in 2019/2020.