SDF anticipates change in CHASE fund share
Sports Development Foundation (SDF) general manager Denzil Wilks says the body is unsure whether it will continue to receive its yearly share of 40 per cent of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
Wilks made the announcement during a presentation to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) at Gordon House in Kingston on Wednesday. The committee convened the meeting to get an explanation on the spending by the SDF as well as its administrative concerns and projects planned for the remainder of the financial year.
The figure received by the SDF is the largest share issued to any arm that falls under the CHASE Fund, and it is then used to assist Jamaica's 44 recognised sporting associations and to finance sporting infrastructural development.
"While we continue to receive from the gaming industry, the funds now actually pass through the Consolidated Fund," Wilks said. "Having gone to the Consolidated Fund, it goes back to CHASE then comes to us. We remain a bit uncertain as to whether we will continue in the medium to long term, whether we will receive 40 per cent.
"In fact, in preparing our budget this year, we have, based on the advisement that we have received, not calculated based on our projections of what 40 per cent would be, but we are essentially preparing a budget based on what our needs are. Those needs comprise mainly requests that we have had for infrastructure development and requests from the national sporting organisations as well as administrative expenses, et cetera."
This 40 per cent, over the last four years, has amounted to a range between $550 million and $600 million per year. For 2017, some $130 million to $140 million was spent on infrastructural development. The 44 recognised sporting associations received $150 million. This was issued through monthly subventions.
Roughly another $250 million of the sum went to projects such as the Jamaica International Invitational Meet and the JN Racers Grand Prix, each receiving US$100,000 (around Ja$25 million at that time).
"Each association submits a budget indicating their main activities for the year," Wilks said. "For example, the (national) football teams would travel to participate in various competitions, the netball team would have World Cup in a particular year, Olympics in any particular year. That's an additional amount that could easily be another $100 million, depending on the particular year.
"It should be noted that we also contribute to a few others that are government sport-related organisations," Wilks explained. "At that time (2017), we were still making a small contribution to the GC Foster College, which has been discontinued; a contribution to the Institute of Sport, which has continued; Independence Park has continued, and the Social Development Commission, which has also been discontinued. For 2017, that amounted to $50 million."
Wilks said that the SDF "consistently" spends 10 to 14 per cent of its overall income on administrative costs.
PAAC chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill said that this was "pretty high," and Wilks disagreed, saying it was not, compared to other entities' operating costs.