The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, has said that sports in the country would henceforth be seen as business to enable the industry contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation.
A statement signed by Mohammed Manga, Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, quoted Dare as saying this while inaugurating a 10-man technical committee on “national sports as business policy” in Abuja.
Dare stated that what the Ministry has introduced is in line with global practice.
“The major weakness was that sports was just categorised as recreation and service, it was not a business and therefore placed financial burden on the Federal government,” the statement quoted Dare as saying.
The 10-man committee was inaugurated to draw up the details of the incentives that would be in the National Sports as Business Policy.
While inaugurating the committee, the minister stated that the first-ever National Sports Industry Policy, approved by President Muhammad Buhari, in Council, on Nov. 2, 2022, was aimed at moving Sports in Nigeria from recreation to Business.
Dare stated that the committee which would be coordinated by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, had the responsibility of working out the modalities for the successful transition of sports in the country from recreation to business.
“For over three years now, the ministry has been at work reviewing past sports policies and also dealing with the weaknesses therein.
“Looking at about 10 countries that dominate the world of global sports, the ministry decided to look at sports as business, which, if handled appropriately, can among others, contribute to the annual GDP of the country.
“It can also provide employment for about 2 to 5 million youth, grants, other necessary supports as well as scholarships for athletes,” he said.
According to Dare, investment, incentives and infrastructure are the three things that drive sports as business, funded by government and the private sector.
He added that the policy was in line with the orientation of government which under the current National Development Plan (2021 to 2025) was based on 70 per cent of funds from the private sector and 30 per cent from government with rebate on tax.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, in his remarks, called on private individuals as well as stakeholders to key into the new policy with a view to taking sports to greater heights.
Abubakar commended Dare for the initiative, while thanking the president for granting approval to the policy.
He called on the committee to put in their best towards the success of the policy.
Dr Ladan Haruna, representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Planning, while responding, assured that the committee members would bring their wealth of experience to bear in ensuring the success of the policy.
Haruna noted that the policy would boost the sports industry and impact positively on every sector of the economy if properly harnessed.
Members of the Technical Committee are Dr Ladan Haruna, Chinedu Louisa Okeke, Dominic Akuboh, Tabitha Dagyol, and Dr Ikenna Nwosu.
Others are, Amaechi Akawo, Bamiduro Olumide, Chasing Madumumere, Rep. of CBN, as well as Rep of Customs and Excise. (NAN)