Push for AFCON 2027: Akii-Bua Stadium Prioritization Sparks Budget Committee Debate

Construction of Akii-Bua Stadium, designated as one of the venues for the upcoming 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) games, must be given precedence, according to members of the Budget Committee. This demand was articulated during the presentation of the Committee on Education and Sports’ report on the Budget Framework Paper for the sector ministry on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

Chairing the Committee on Education and Sports, Hon. John Ntamuhiira conveyed the committee’s recommendation for the Ministry of Finance to allocate an additional Shs100 billion to the National Council of Sports. This funding is intended to facilitate the construction of Akii-Bua Stadium in Lira and Buhinga Stadium in Kabarole.

Ntamuhiira explained that the government’s failure to secure a grant from the Republic of China for the construction of the two regional stadiums necessitates the need for alternative funding. The PAMOJA bid, where Uganda is set to co-host the AFCON tournament in 2027 with Kenya and Tanzania, designates Akii-Bua Stadium as one of the game venues.

Concerns were raised by Hon. Paul Omara (Indep., Otuke County) regarding the lack of priority given to the proposed Akii-Bua Stadium in the budget. He insisted on a clear decision that Akii-Bua and Hoima would be prioritized for construction for AFCON 2027.

Hon. Maxwell Akora (UPC, Maruzi County) highlighted the cost disparity between the 15,000-seater Hoima Stadium (estimated at Shs380 billion) and the 30,000-seater Akii-Bua Stadium (estimated at Shs180 billion). He pointed out the perceived inflation and expressed concerns about the decision’s impact on regions like Lango, Acholi, and West Nile.

The Education Committee further recommended a provision of Shs110 billion for the construction of 11 training grounds for the 2027 AFCON games. Additionally, Ntamuhiira proposed an extra Shs114 billion to cover commitment fees under the PAMOJA bid, ensuring Uganda fulfills requirements by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to avoid revocation of the AFCON bid.