The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has praised the patriotism and contributions of Nigerians in the diaspora to nation-building.
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Delivering his remarks titled, “Engaging with the Diaspora in Engineering Sports for National Development” during the Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit, organized by Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Nigeria Diaspora Summit Initiative in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister stated that Nigeria’s diaspora community has over the years made outstanding contributions to the country’s economy to an extent that they now hold such importance and relevance in Nigeria’s story of nation building.
Senator Owan Enoh noted that a sustained increase in diaspora inflows into Nigeria makes it one of the fastest-growing aspects of the global economy.
Buttressing his postulation, he said that a breakdown of figures from the World Bank showed that, as of 2015 diaspora remittance stood at $21.2bn; $19.7bn in 2016 and $22bn in 2017. In 2018, it rose up to $24.31bn; $23.81bn in 2019, and $17.21bn in 2020.
Remittances from Nigerians in the diaspora in 2021 stood at $19.2bn and $20.9bn in 2022. In total, the sum of $168 billion was sent home by Nigerians in diaspora between 2015 and 2022.
Senator Enoh described them as unrepentant believers in the greatness of Nigeria and embodiments of patriotism, noting that their remittances have played a key role in assuaging the impact of foreign exchange scarcity and in keeping the country’s forex reserve afloat.
He said that as minister of Sports Development, he would draw a new vision for Nigerian sports (2023-2031), rebranding Nigeria’s sports profile, improving the value proposition map, and fitting into place, templates on which the future of sports shall depend.
According to him, the capacity of sports to transform and improve the physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being of individuals and the significant role that it play in cultures and communities around the world are enough to justify huge investments in sports.
He added that if the potential of the sports sector is fully harnessed, it could contribute 7% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Our Vision in the Ministry of Sports Development is to establish a thriving sports industry that contributes over 7 percent to the national GDP with an annual net evaluation of over 3 billion dollars by 2027,” Enoh said. “I envision the enablement of a multi-trillion naira sports industry that promotes excellence in sports and fosters talent development.”
He observed that although the development community had marginalized sports, he aligned himself with the unfolding international movement which recognizes that sports do not have to compete with other development priorities but can instead be a powerful means for addressing them.
The Minister stressed that what was needed to surmount the challenges facing sports in Nigeria was the right strategy to set it in the right direction. He canvassed for an enduring partnership between the government and the private sector to get things going in the right direction.
Under his leadership, he identified activating and enabling a welfare system that caters to serving and retired athletes, activation of the sports business industry, and funding of sports development as some of the focus areas of the ministry.
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