By Sedara Oluwadara
The Nigeria Federal Executive Council has approved the National Sports Industry Policy(NSIP) proposed to it by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
This approval was given during its meeting on Wednesday, bringing to a positive end the efforts of the Sports Ministry under the headship of Minister Sunday Dare to get the policy document in place for the administration of sports in the country.
Some of the approved incentives as outlined in the policy document include;
A) Tax exemption and rebate for a period of 5 years for investors in the value chain of sports.
B) Land provision and waiver for certain fees on lands meant for sports.
C) Single digit loan interest rates for corporate organisations and private individuals investing in the sports value chain.
D) 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 training.
E) Application of the Renovate Operate Transfer(ROT), Build Operate and Transfer(BOT), Integrated National Financial Framework(INFF), Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan(NIIMP) or any other innovative PPP financing model for the provision, rehabilitation of sports facilities in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.F) Full operationalisation and enforcement of the sports Code of Governance.
The Policy outlines an effective means of improving the funding of sports, delineating the obligations of the different tiers of government, the participation of the private sector and other stakeholders in sports.
The thrust areas of the National Sports Industry Policy(NSIP) are as follows;
Federations and athletes’ development, education, health, capacity development and training, inclusivity and social development in the community, provision of facilities and infrastructure, economic development, legislative environment and international relations, funding, finance and investment for sports and the digital economy.
Only recently, the Federal Government reclassified sports as business, and not mere recreation, to birth the vision of the Policy in ensuring that sports play a prominent role as an instrument of national unity, cohesion; promoting health and fitness through mass participation; and contributing to economic development and global recognition.
In the coming weeks, the Finance Ministry and relevant financial agencies will meet to work out specific details of the incentives.