The Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, weekend, commended the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for hosting the National Sports Festival, saying it will boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.
He gave the commendation at the official unveiling of the mascot of the National Sport Festival (NSF) in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Dare said it is the first time the state is hosting such event and it has not done badly in the areas of preparations which demonstrated a high percentage of the inclusion of local content.
The Minister, while commending the state governor on the renovation of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, said it was up to Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) standard adding that he looked forward to when international matches would be played on it.
On his part, the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said the benefits to be accrue from hosting the event cannot be quantified in naira and kobo, adding that it has a multiplying effect on the state’s economy.
“You cannot find a room this weekend in any hotel in Benin City. So, that is the tourism impact alone, bringing people in here is enormous.
“Hotels are sold out, restaurants, transport services. You beginning to see that the GDP of Edo State is on the rise.
“So, these are unquantifiable benefits, economic benefits which we are beginning to see in hosting a lot of activities like this.
“So, this event coincides with NAFEST next week and it is putting Edo in the limelight . You cannot monetize all the benefits that will come from this”, Obaseki said.
The governor said the all preparations geared towards the event has a high percentage of local content, thereby giving the people of the state to showcase their skills and eke out a living for themselves.
“We are beginning to see the impact. As we speak today, we have over 500 workers in the stadium alone, construction workers.
“I am building it to an international standard and so, the qualities of construction activities even by local contractors we see, it has been improving because we are giving them an opportunity to perform”, he said.
In his comment, the state deputy governor, Mr. Philip Shaibu, said the event will serve as an avenue to rediscover new talents in the state.
“They will be engaged in all the federation sports and do not forget that the 20 we are building, we are going to develop sport from the school to bring back principals cup, governor’s cup and talking with the minister, he said even the academical will be back and we will engage all of them all through the year from January to December, we will be engaged in all these activities and that will sharpen them and also we will rediscover new talents as a result of this tournament”, he said.