Sports Minister clears air on Basketballers allowances

 

By FRED EDOREH

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, has taken time to explain the issues surrounding the delay in the payment of entitlements to members of the male and female national basketball teams, assuring that processes are in top gear to ensure they get paid in due course.

Speaking against the backdrop of a protest action by the D’Tigress players which went on Social Media and insinuations of misappropriation in some quarters, Dare assured that the funds provided by various banks for the Olympic teams are intact in the account of the Nigeria Basketball Federation with the Central Bank of Nigeria while efforts are also being made to pursue the release of other allowances owed the players from previous events.

On the Olympic sponsorship fund, the Minister explained that the players have been asked to send their account details and since many of them are foreign based, the CBN was in a better position to process the payment and together instead of one by one.

He said while the female players have all sent their account details, they had been waiting for the male players to enable the CBN process them at once but he has directed since last week for the payment  the females be effected while they await the account of the men.

He stressed that as a Minister, he has no access to the account as only the designated NBBF signatories by the authority of its leadership and approval of the ministry can operate it.

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On outstanding allowance to the D’Tigress players from the 2017 Afrobasket Cup of Nations, Dare explained that even though it was not at his time, the ministry is seriously pursing the release of funds from the government and are getting good signals indicating that the money would soon be released.

He pointed out that, operating within the government financial and budgetary system, he understands that funds are applied based on critical needs but that there is good assurance that the funds will be released in due course.

Noting also that there are outsatanding payments to the other Olympic and Paralympic teams which completed their competitions earlier before the Afrobasket tournament, Dare informed that the Ministry has done all documentations and he has long singed for the payments to be made.

“I have given approvals. The all want dollars so they have been asked to open domiciliary accounts. We all know whet the situation is with dollars in the country. The government has directed that there should be no cash payment of dollars by the CBN. It is a Presidential directive. If they had wanted the payment in Naira it would have long been paid. Anyone who wants it that way can send their Naira accounts and they would be paid the next day. But since they want dollars they must have to open dollar accounts. a No cash payment from CBN for dollars.”

 

Sportstalkafrica investigations revealed that 75 percent of the entitlement to the able bodied Olympians have been paid and measures are already in place to pay the balance of 25 percent.

 

For the Paralympians, the total entitlement is about 165,000USD which the ministry has approved for payment awaiting the submission of domiciliary accounts the athletes.

The Minister assured that he is personally very committed to athletes welfare and had takeni nitiatives to source for sponsorships for the athletes and federations under his Adopt-an-Athlete, Adoot-a-Team and Adopt-a-Sport programmes.

It is also recalled that the Minister raised the entitlements for the Olympic and Paralympic teams triple times from the old value, presenting and defending increase at the Federal Executive Council.

While acknowledging the financial needs of the athletes, he called on them to exercise patience and understanding of the process involved in treating financial issues in government, especially as the Olympic and Paralympic Games ended just about a month ago and time and processes are required in financial management.