The Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung has called on the National Assembly to revisit the Bill supporting tax waivers for investors in sports development.
Barrister Dalung made the call when the Nigeria Hockey Federation led by its President Senator Abdul Ningi paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The bill, if passed and assented to will have a tax rebate for any company that supports sports. This is expected to generate funds for sports development while waiving a percentage of taxes paid by sponsors of sports development.
“Elsewhere around the world, financial institutions pick athletes, adopt them and spend their money on the development of those athletes. We must have such traditions in Nigeria. Here, multinationals make billions in Nigeria and none of them plough back the interest or the profit of their investments into sports, yet, they put billions supporting sports in other countries. That is unacceptable and that is why I will lend my voice to call on the National Assembly to revisit that legislation which was concluded but did not receive the Presidential assent, because it is a desirable legislation for sports development. If we have that bill passed and assented to by Mr President, definitely sports development will be rapid and massive.”
The Minister also commended the federation for bringing hockey back to life and for soliciting funding of their various programs.
“Despite the challenges being faced by the federation, you have been able to make indelible landmarks as far Hockey is concerned in Nigeria and Africa . All that needs to be done is justice to other federations in Nigeria. Over the years we deliberately embarked on policies of elimination of other sports and this went down to even the elimination of institutional sports. This situation was compounded by the inequitable policy of only appropriating more funds to choice sports while others were abandoned to their fate. I want to assure you that having successfully conducted the elections of the National Federations we will move to equity and justice in sports administration.”
Earlier, the President of the Nigerian Hockey Federation Senator Abdul Ningi said that since coming on board, the federation has been able to meet all their domestic competitions on the calendar.
“We have taken part in the Super league, League One, National league and club competitions. In spite of the problems of funding, the federation members are still doing their best to ensure that we are always represented at competitions.”
The Senator also solicited support for the upcoming Nations Cup competition billed for Egypt.
“It is our flagship competition and its supposed to take place in August in South Africa but because of the international league that took place there, it was shifted to Egypt. Our ambition is to put back Nigerian hockey on the African continent and onto global limelight. The business organizations we have are not actually in tune with the reality of the situation in the country. Ghana, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa get endorsements from the private sector but in Nigeria, it is only football and basketball that they invest in and therefore we must do whatever we can to get the business sector to come up with how to move some sports forward.”
He called on the Minister to assist the federation with sponsorship for the Nations Cup.