Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, the Minister-designate of Youth and Sports, said the nation saved US$1.4 million for re-negotiating the winning bonuses of the Black Stars at the just ended African Cup of Nations Tournament in Gabon.
He said the previous government budgeted $4.4 million as winning bonuses for the players and the technical team, after re-negotiating the bonus structure, was slashed down by 50 per cent.
According to him, the previous government initially agreed to pay $10, 000 to each player as winning bonus per match at the group stages, $10, 000 to each player for quarter finals qualification, $12, 000 to each player for semi-finals qualification and $15,000 to each player for winning the trophy at the grand finale, but after the re-negotiation ‘‘we paid half of the amount’’.
Mr Asiamah, a Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Youth and Sports, made this known when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Monday for vetting.
He suggested that the local players must be given a quota when selecting players to the senior national team and gave the assurance that when given the nod he would push for local content for the players plying their trade in the Ghana Premier League.
Mr Asiamah, the Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua in the Ashanti Region, therefore, advocated for retention of quality players in the local league in order to attract more spectators to the stadium.
Commenting on the lack of sponsorship for the local league, the nominee said each region must at least have a club in the league so that the Ghana League Club Association and Ghana Football Association could harness sponsorship from corporate entities across the country.
Mr Asiamah gave the assurance that under his leadership, sports development would not revolve around football alone but would empower the youth in various employable skill training, information and communication technology, as well as technical and vocational training such as carpentry, masonry and catering.
The nominee indicated that the Ministry would establish a Youth Development Authority to bring together all scattered youth programmes under a single umbrella for easy co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation.
He said sports was a tool for job creation which had huge potential for promoting economic growth and that when the Sports Bill was passed into law this year it would make sports more lucrative.
The Minister-designate said there were about 40 sporting disciplines in the country and would, therefore, strive to open regional branches to unearth budding talents.
Touching on the issue of corruption in sports, Mr Asiamah said corruption in sports was a major global challenge and would, therefore, institute mechanisms to root-out corruption and urged other state institutions like Parliament to join forces in fighting the menace.
He said the Ghana Football Association was supposed to give all its programmes to the National Sports Authority every year so that the Ministry could plan and budget properly towards each activity, adding ‘‘it is one way of checking corruption in agencies under the Ministry’’.