Accra Sports Stadium

ACTUALLY thought I was done with the Agenda setting for the Minister-designate with the FINAL PART 5, but then realised that, no matter what, there has to be an EPILOGUE, a certain concluding part with free-style comments on the generality of other issues that I did not touch on within the 5 parts, including the WAY FORWARD as what politicians would always like to ask after a long presentation by a consultant with all manner of references.

What I intend to do therefore is to pretend to be Hon. Mustapha Yussif, MP and then pose the question, unfortunately to myself: “WHAT NEXT?” or “WHAT’S THE WAY FORWARD?

AFTER ALL THESE AGENDA SETTINGS, WHAT NEXT…?

I would expect the Minister to have set up a ‘KITCHEN CABINET’ by now, whilst he is waiting for his turn at the Appointments Committee for vetting on THURSDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY, 2021 as the first Nominee for the day, to discuss all the issues raised so far, just in case like a terminal examinations at the kindergarten, some of the issues could come from members of the Committee.

The Minister’s Kitchen Cabinet should be expected to sieve through all the five parts of the Agenda Setting and to re-arrange all the issues listed in their own order of priority for the attention of the Minister on assumption of office, after he had been sworn into office by the President of the Republic.

This Kitchen Cabinet should also be manpowered to interrogate further any other matters that might arise from their reviews for better particulars in enable them review every aspect of any issue to proffer the most appropriate solution or option for the Minister to consider for implementation.

These then should be set into a proper ROADMAP, granted that what I advanced seem to be too rigid for consideration, and where this roadmap sets out by quarters then becomes his blueprint for the Ministry and the National Sports Authority (NSA) to work with.

Furthermore, this ROADMAP should inform all discussions at all the initial meetings he should be having with the Management Committee of the Ministry as well as the National Sports Authority, even as he considers who and who and who, he should propose for the Advisory Committee of the Ministry and the Board of the NSA.

FACILITATING THE ORGANISATION OF NATIONAL GAMES

The NATIONAL GAMES haven’t been organized for a while now and I find the COVID-19 pandemic a welcoming distraction for us as a nation and a people to discuss and shape its future before there is a breakthrough for the normalization of sporting activities in Ghana.

What would be necessary for the Ministry in conjunction with the NSA to evolve bidding rules so that now REGIONS, MUNICIPALS. METROPOLITANS and DISTRICTS could bid for the rights to host and organize the next NATIONAL GAMES with technical support of the NSA. It also means that the Games will be hosted and organized BIANNUALLY – every two years, commencing 2022.

The NSA with the support of the Ministry could constitute the NATIONAL GAMES RIGHTS COMMITTEE, under the National Sports Authority (NSA) and charged with the responsibility of receiving BIDS from any of the sixteen regions or Metropolitan or Municipal or District Assemblies and awarding the RIGHTS TO HOST AND ORGANIZE the next National Games 2 – 3 years in advance, based on capacities for facilities, logistics and commercial viabilities.

It also means both the MOYS in conjunction with the NSA could explore possibilities for TITLE SPONSORS of the National Games for a specific number of years, plus other MARKETING PARTNERS to consolidate the Games as a national forum for talents identification for Team Ghana.

RE – ORGANIZATION OF THE MINISTRY

Another area that would require the attention of the Minister would be an exercise to be pursued in conjunction with the Office of the Public Sector Reforms and the Head of Civil Service as well as Comptroller for some shifting of staff from the Ministry to bring new dynamism into their affairs.

Honestly, there seems to be some staleness at the Ministry and if the desired changes could be implemented then this will be a necessary evil to be apprehended face-on.

The system as we know it, has never been in favour of any change that will seek to improve productivity and delivery of the core mandate of the Ministry and I am inclined to recommend that we need the desired RE-ORGANIZATION of the Ministry to propel into a new synergy for the development, promotion and organization of SPORTS with greater interfacing with the private sector to reap the full benefits of a vibrant sport industry.

RE – HOUSING THE NATIONAL SPORTS AUTHORITY

If we are to change our perceptions and adopt the PRIVITAZATION OF SPORT FACILITIES in the country, as defined by the Sports Act, 2016 (Act 934) towards maximizing returns on the investments made to develop these facilities on a SUSTAINABLE basis, then we really need to bit the bullet now and go for the full hog.

It also means that there will have to be broader sensitization of all stakeholders to make the complete PARADIGM SHIFT for the betterment of our sports.

I think the future can only start with the initial engagement of stakeholders, private business interests and legal to assist in evolving a system for decoupling the NSA from stadia management in an area, where they could rather earn annual rent payable by the private management firm upfront and as incorporated into the NATIONAL SPORT FUND proposed structure, all rents would be paid to the FUND.

With such funds, the NSA could construct its own offices complex and empowered to pursue its core mandate of sport promotion, development, organization as well as oversight for policy & regulations implementation.

It will be prudent for the Minister to set up a Committee of the Board of the NSA, representatives from the Ministry and private participation, with the Committee charged with evolving the roadmap for the transition, considering all options.

IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON SPORT INDUSTRY & CIRCUMVENTING THE QUAGMIRE

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been exacting its impact on our sports development and promotion to great damage, which could be adduced without any scientific basis, my plea is for us to stop this process and rather for the Ministry to engage some consultants to assess the real impact, in both qualitative and quantitative terms so that we would be able to work on proper strategies to address our situation, when the pandemic is arrested.

RE-ALIGNING THE NATIONAL SPORTS COLLEGE, WINNEBA INTO A NATIONAL PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE HUMAN RESOURCE BASE FOR THE NEW DIRECTION

One area I did not touch on in the 5 – part Agenda setting exercise was the Winneba Sports College, which obviously needs a major facelift, not in name only but with a comprehensive business plan as to how to re-position it as one of the strategic vehicles to change Ghana’s Sport Development Paradigm through Education.

This definitely will call for proper remuneration structure for upgraded staffing towards making it a Centre of Excellence for the West African sub-region, including reviewing its Curriculum and seeking collaborations with existing tertiary institution so as to enable it deliver on its mandate.

HOW ARE WE GOING TO JUDGE YOU AFTER YOUR TERM OF OFFICE, HON. MUSTAPHA YUSSIF, MP…?

I know a number of people will caution that it is too early yet to ask yourself HOW ARE WE GOING TO JUDGE YOU AFTER YOUR TERM OF OFFICE as the MINISTER FOR YOUTH AND SPORTS, come December 2024 before the next General Elections?

How would you even see yourself, granted that the President reshuffles his Ministers mid-term in 2023 before or after the hosting and organization of the 13th African Games, being hosted and organized under your watch?

If you don’t develop the sensitivities for prompting yourself periodically on this journey, you might not appreciate the tasks ahead of you well. I am only playing the devil’s advocate at this point so that for once in our lives as Ghanaians, we would have a Minister who sought to do his job differently and not – BUSINESS AS USUAL.

Guess I can’t thank myself for this free consultancies, especially as I have been amazed by responses not only from Ghana, but quite a number from outside. This definitely means many more people will be assessing you regularly, as I will be, over this journey with you: not as silent observers as before, but more participatory now at each turn and stop, lose or win.

Grateful to have helped set you a set of agendas for your tenure of office.