By Our Reporter
The Federal Government has expressed its desire to partner with the Enugu State Government to ensure the development of sports in the country not only at the grassroots level but also to unlock its economic potentials in line with global realities.
The Honourable Minister of Sports Development Senator John Owan Enoh disclosed this today during a courtesy visit on the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Dr Peter Ndubusi Mbah
held at the Government House Enugu, the Enugu State Capital.
Senator Owan Enoh stated that the new vision and thinking of the Federal Government was to make sports a profitable venture by moving the sector away from mere recreation to a business.
He explained that his visit to the Executive Governor of Enugu State was to discuss on how both the Federal and Enugu State Governments can partner together to explore ways to fully unlock the economic potentials of sports in Nigeria and in the process, unleash one of the most consequential transformations of the 21st century.
The Minister informed that sports was a five trillion dollar industry that has the capacity to inspire and change the world. That It has the power to give hope when there is despair. *Sports speaks to the youth in the language they understand. Sports has more power than government to break barriers and boundaries of racial discrimination and injustices* he said.
The Minister stated that it was for these reasons and many more that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his wisdom, decided to create a separate Ministry of Sports Development and has also recently endosed the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) in the Renewed Hope Agenda of government to provide opportunities for the private sector participation in the development of sports in Nigeria.
The Minister informed that the policy outlines some insensitives that can attract private sector investors such as *tax exemption and rebate for a period of 5 years for investors in the value chain of sports; land provision and waiver for certain fees on lands meant for sports; single digit loan interest rates for corporate organisations and private individuals investing in the sports value chain as well as independent Government Grant through the establishment of an Independent Athletes Welfare Fund (AWF) from which athletes representing the country can draw support for education and trainings amongst others.*
Senator Owan Enoh who commended the Executive Governor and the good people of Enugu State for their commitment to the development of the sports sector in the state through various innovatives and comprehensive upgrade and rebranding of sporting facilities in the state, stated that sports has the capacity of solving challenges of unemployment as it is capable of creating jobs opportunities for our teeming youth, alleviate poverty as well as contribute to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that sports has remained the most unifying factor in Nigeria and that if well harnessed, it can bring the desired peace and security the country requires.
In his response, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Dr Peter Ndubusi Mbah stated that Enugu State was ready to partner with the Federal Government in its effort to unlock the economic potential of sports in the country.
He assured that the state
would play a significant leadership role in catalysing the change that the nation sought to achieve in sports
development, especially as the Sports Policy of the Federal Government, is in line with that of his vision.
The Governor noted that the Vision of the Federal Government on Sports Development *is reassuring because that is in line with the vision of this administration, which is also in our manifesto, on how youth are going to be integrated into the economic development trajectory. Enugu State has a growth trajectory of $4.4 billion to $30 billion in the next eight years and we are very mindful of the role sports will play to achieve this target* he said.
Dr Ndubus, who called for more collaboration between the government and private sector to expand the horizon of sports development for economic growth of the nation, informed that his administration was
building back Enugu Rangers and re-enacting it back to what it used to be.
*We have the branding of the Rangers jersey by Afrinvest, and we have other private investors who are also showing interest in investing in the club. We will not be left behind; we will fight toe to toe with the Federal Government and make sure we change the way sports is perceived in the country and Enugu will be a model for that* the Governor assured.
It is worthy to note that the Honourable Minister of Sports Development Senator John Owan Enoh since his assumption of office has been canvassing for massive private sector investment and participation in sports development in Nigeria as well as echoing assurances of the Federal Government’s readiness to incentivize Critical Areas of Sports Development in line with global realities.
It is the desired hope of all sports loving Nigerians that the efforts of Senator Owan Enoh should pave way for the transformation of this critical industry.