Sports & Games

Challenges Ahead for Pakistani Athletes as Government Tightens Sports Budget

Pakistan has recently introduced a fifty percent cut on the running expenditures of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and imposed a whopping Rs1.24 billion cut on the development budget that will be introduced for the fourth quarter. This decision is expected to significantly impact the country’s sports sector, particularly with the upcoming South Asian Games in March 2024. In this article, we will discuss the implications of this decision and its impact on different sectors.

Background of the Decision

The decision to cut the PSB’s development budget was made due to the financial crunch that the country is facing. The government has struggled to manage its finances, and the sports sector has not been immune to these challenges. In February 2023, the Finance Division introduced a fifty percent cut on the PSB’s running expenditures, including grants to federations, daily running expenses, and up-gradation work. This decision caused significant challenges for the PSB; now, another 35 percent cut has been imposed on development expenditures.

Impact on the Sports Sector

The PSB is currently working on 17 development projects, and the recent cut on the development budget would serve no good to sports’ cause. The early release of the fourth quarterly installment could have ensured the timely completion of these ongoing projects. The Narowal Sports City Complex is already eating up a hefty amount of the sports budget, and there are chances that a major amount of the newly released development budget will be diverted to that mega scheme while the remaining amount will be spent on the other 16 schemes. However, with the cut in the development budget, the completion of some of these projects may be delayed.

The impact of this decision is not limited to ongoing development projects. The federations recognized by the PSB are also expected to face the brunt of this decision. The PSB is in the final stages of awarding grants to the recognized federations, and there are chances that these federations may get even lesser quarterly grants than they used to get in the past.

The impact of this decision is particularly significant with the upcoming South Asian Games in March 2024. The PSB is not in a position to prepare infrastructure for these games, which may impact Pakistan’s performance in these games. Moreover, Pakistan may lose the opportunity to host these games due to inadequate infrastructure.

Impact on the Economy

The sports sector is an essential contributor to the economy of Pakistan. The sector generates employment opportunities, attracts tourists, and promotes healthy activities in the country. However, with the cut in the development budget, the sports sector is expected to face significant challenges. The delay in completing ongoing projects may result in reduced employment opportunities and discourage tourists from visiting Pakistan. Moreover, the inadequate infrastructure may discourage hosting international events in the country, resulting in a further decline in the economy.

Pakistan’s decision to impose a massive cut on the development budget of the PSB is expected to have significant implications for the sports sector and the economy. The delay in completing ongoing projects and inadequate infrastructure may impact Pakistan’s performance at international events and discourage tourists from visiting the country. Moreover, the reduction in employment opportunities may further worsen the country’s economic situation. The government must take appropriate measures to ensure the timely completion of ongoing projects and support the sports sector to mitigate the adverse impact of this decision.

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