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‘Poor policies hindering Nigeria’s sports development’

Nigerian Sports since independence has continued to lag behind other sectors in the country unlike developed nations of the world where sports business has become a major revenue earner and contributes significantly to the GDPs of those countries.

The Statistician-general of the federation, Yemi Kale, has rated sports’ contribution to Nigeria’s economic low, saying the sector accounts for 0.005 percent of the country’s GDP.

He said Sports is valued at $500 billion globally, however, the sector accounts for 0.005 percent of Nigeria’s GDP which is not good enough.

Kale described sports as a small business in the country, but insisted that the sector has a capacity to stimulate economic growth and urged nation’s sports managers to agree on sporting activities that would constitute and focus on data integrity.

“Sports remains a small business in Nigeria, but has the potential to be much bigger. We need to agree on what sporting activities should constitute and focus on data integrity, collaboration with relevant agencies and most importantly ensuring the steady funding for data computing as related to the sports industry,” Kale stated.

Sunday Dare, Minister for Youth and Sports Development, noted there is a need to look into the 2009 National Sports Policy document.

“In 2009, we had the National Sports Policy. Prior to that, we had a policy on Sports and Social Development. The latest one we have which is in 2009 is devoid of a business model.

It is essentially sports development devoid of a business model. When you put that at par with other sporting regimes across the world, you would see that we’re clearly behind and that has been the bane of sports development,” the minister noted.

The minister highlighted possible potentials to explore for Nigeria to reap from sports as business.

“We have not been able to leverage private funding. We have not been able to turn sports into a business. So, the National Sports Industry policy, work has been ongoing for three years before I became a minister. What I’ve done is to accelerate that process towards developing a business model around our sports. And in June, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), actually reclassified sports from mere recreation to business. You go to Jamaica, you go to Brazil, South Africa, countries where sport is built around a business model you see the returns.”

The minister added that a proper policy framework can attract private funding and thus help to grow the sports industry and make it a revenue drive for the nation.

“If you know how policy works, when sport was classified as recreation, it had no budget line, it was not seen as business activity, it was not contributing to the GDP. The kind of government investment needed for that industry was unavailable under the three ‘I’s and one ‘P’: Policy to drive investment on the part of government and private sector, incentives on the part of the government for investors, and developing infrastructure across the country. If we have these pillars, the necessary funding will come from the public and private sector.”

 

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