From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
A new policy aiming to transform Nigeria’s sports sector into a revenue-generating industry has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Minister of Sports and Youth Development Sunday Dare, who disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the approval was for the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) 2022-2026.
Dare noted that with the approval, sports in the nation have added a structured business portfolio to the recreational value and that the new policy has provided for various categories of the sports sector stakeholders, including young people, who make up the majority of the sports enthusiast population.
He also revealed that the policy has a number of sections dealing with sports governance rules, goals for developing the infrastructure, and other modules meant to standardize the sports industry.
“This afternoon, the Federal Executive Council, chaired by His Excellency, the Vice President, approved the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) 2022-2026.
“The policy has at its core the building of a business model into our sports development. Recall that over a year ago, the President, in council, with other FEC members approved the reclassification of sports as a business. So sports is business, in addition to recreation and part of the plan is to bring the policy to be able to tie this in for implementation.
“Today, that policy, 2022 to 2026, was presented to Council and the Federal Executive Council has approved National Sports Industrial Policy 2022 to 2026. This approval brings to the final closure the idea that, or the principle of sports as a business, which opens the door to private investment, driven by incentives and also investment from the private sector.
“The approval obtained today will also look at sports’ code of governance regulations, as it relates to our sporting federations, to create a sports governance structure as we have in other sectors that will be attractive to the private sector and this code of governance will attract obligations like accountability, which are critical to investor confidence and also sector clarity.
“The approval also covers incentives for private investors and sports development. Approved were proposed tax and fiscal incentives needed to drive sports as a business and also to attract the much-needed investment from the private sector.
“The approval also covers the ability of the Sports Ministry to drive the application of a medley of funding and financing approaches to develop our infrastructure and to develop our sports from ROT, which is Renovate, Operate and Transfer, to BOT, which Build, Operate and Transfer, to the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) and also the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan. All of these have been approved as approaches we can employ to boost sports as a business.
“Most importantly, the triggers of sports as a business, which is infrastructural development, investment from public and private sector, and also incentives, that were presented to Council, were all approved and with this development, we believe that a new dawn has come for sports development in our country.
“In this policy is something for the athletes, in this policy is something for the government, in this policy, there’s something for the mass of sports-loving Nigerians and in this policy, there’s definitely something for our youth population, because it has a fully developed sports value-chain into which most of our youths can plug in and also investors can plug in,” he said.