By Salifu Usman, Abuja
The federal government has been enjoined to review sports funding policies that have continued to limit private investment in sports, thereby denying Nigerian youth employment opportunities.
President, Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Suleiman Gora, gave the advice in an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP Weekend Sports in Abuja, yesterday.
He appealed to the government to grant tax rebate for sports sponsorship, saying it will encourage private-sector support for sports development in the country.
Several attempts in the past to get relevant government agencies to grant tax relief to corporate bodies and individuals sponsoring sports activities in the country met with a brick wall, but Gora insists now is the time for that to be practicalized.
“There is a need for the government to review funding of sports, even if it means certain percent of tax should be given to the private sector so that a certain percentage of their earnings can be set aside for funding and development of sports.
“We have a population of people who are very young and it is said to be over 60 percent of our total population. So, we need to do something to get them engaged and the only way we can get them engaged is through sports.
“There is a need for the private sector to be involved in the sponsorship of sports and they can only come in when they are assured of a rebate of no less than 10 percent in taxes.
“Surely they will also benefit from the discount. Through such sponsorship our youths will be employed, lured away from vice-breeding idleness and encouraged to participate in potential medal-winning sports like scrabble that helps improve emotional well-being and creativity,” Gora said.
Gora however revealed that the Nigeria Scrabble Federation under his leadership would leave no stone unturned to get sponsors for the promotion of scrabble game in the country. He said the federation has engaged experts to properly package Nigeria’s success in the board game to attract potential sponsors.
“If properly administered, the sports industry has a huge potential for youth employment, however, it requires a proper governance structure that will attract the private sector. Sports are not properly packaged in Nigeria to attract sponsors. So, we have engaged experts to package our successes in scrabble both at the continental and world level for potential sponsors.”