The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By HENRY MORABANG
THE PNG Sports Foundation has expressed concern over the apparent lack of financial support from government for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Despite winning the bid to host the Pacific Games 14 months ago, the national government did not allocate any money even though PNGSF detailed the cost of hosting the games in its development budget submission document.
PNGSF executive director Iamo Launa reiterated that there was overwhelming support and financial commitment made by the National Executive Council and endorsed by the bi-partisan resolution in parliament in March last year, yet there was no funding in the 2011 budget nor was there any in this year’s budget.
PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee board president Sir Henry ToRobert made similar remarks during a special general meeting of PNGSFOC affiliates last month.
He admitted the real business of preparing for 2015 had not even begun in earnest despite the government having backed the PNGSF in the bidding process in 2009.
Even though PNGSF was allocated more than K10 million for next year, this mainly covers recurrent expenditure, with just K300,000 earmarked for its sports and development programme.
“Since march last year, not a single toea of government funding has been released,” Launa said.
She said there were three urgent priorities which need serious attention from the government;
l To ensure the 2015 venue infrastructure and equipment committee has the funds to ensure sporting facilities venues and games village’s venues are built and tested with major competition events prior to the games. To ensure that the 2015 Organising Committee has the necessary funds to recruit its team and progress it works to coordinate hosting of the event *To ensure that the PNGSFOC has the necessary funds to start its “Grassroots to Gold” program of talent identification and talent development (in partnership with PNG Sports Foundation and our National Sports Institute) to ensure Team PNG’s performance improves significantly from the disastrous 11th ranking in the last pacific mini Games in Cook Island.
Launa stressed that each of these three tasks is enormous and it requires many years of planning.
PNGSF chief said she was happy with the budget allocation but was disappointed that neither funding for the three priorities including no allocation for 2015 Pacific Games.
The sports boss also need clarification and confirmation on when the government funding for 2011 would be released, how much would be allocated to the three major priority areas and to whom will the funds be released to.
Attempt to contact acting Sports Minister James Marape was unsuccessful last night.