The Ministry of Youth and Sports has reminded the Standing Committees on Youth and Sports at the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate on the proposed raise in the County Meet budget from US$500,000 to US$1M.
Assistant Sports Minister Murvee Gray told newsmen Monday that the increment is a ‘win-win’ situation amidst the growing momentum to re-brand the annual sports event for the broader participation.
He said the Ministry’s appeal is in consonance with his ministry's meetings with the Youth and Sports Committees from both houses and with some Representatives and Senators, including Reps. Geraldine Doe-Sherrif, Henry Yallah, Ballah Zayzay, Adolph Lawrence and Ben Fofana among others. Minister Gray said the increment will foster infrastructure development; improve temporary job scheme for players and technicians as well as their transportation and accommodation. The US$1m, if approved, will also encourage the addition of disciplines which target youths who are actively involved in the games, he said.
For the past three years, about US$500,000 has been allotted for the County Meet; and the US$21,000 disbursed for preparation fees for all of the five disciplines of football, athletics, basketball, volleyball and kickball has sparked outcries from County Sports Coordinators and Superintendents on. About 50% is disbursed to counties prior to the preliminary stage and the remainder is expended based on qualification to the next round.
Counties hosting the games in the preliminary rounds also complained of the meagre US$10,000 given them to advance their facilities in preparation.
“The US$21,000 for five disciplines is not enough, taking into consideration training kits, transportation, accommodation, feeding and per diem amongst other [expenses],” Assistant Minister Gray said.
Meanwhile information from the Standing Committees on Youth and Sports at the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate hinted to the Daily Observer that an increase in the budget could get a positive hearing because of the County Meet’s unique transformation since its inception, with the youths taking center stage in the process.