THE Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has disclosed the readiness of the Federal Government to fully concession Abuja and Lagos stadia, saying government will open bids for them in the coming weeks.
Dalung, while addressing State House correspondents shortly after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, said the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) has already bought into the concession arrangements which was brokered in 2012.
He explained that the concession idea was mooted to put both stadia in constant use and to generate some form of revenue for the government.
He further revealed that government was handicapped in maintaining the facilities, hence the concession, as most parts of the stadia have been overgrown by grass.
The minister, however, disclosed that part of the concession would see the building of five star hotels close to both stadia to boost tourism potential.
“I agree that there is underutilisation of sports facilities in Abuja. That has taken us to the issue of concession. The facilities cannot be managed effectively by government, looking at the budgetary allocation for even the maintenance.
“Government cannot maintain these facilities. So what we intend to do is to proceed with the concession process which we met on the ground.
“FEC had in 2012 approved the concession of Abuja and Lagos stadiums. We have proceeded with it and even appointed consultants.
“We are at the stage of getting the approval of Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE). From there, we can now proceed to call for bids and engage the private sector, so that we can run with the concession arrangement, so that they can come in and invest.”
“We have also received the drawing on the proposed ?transformation of the place which will include the creation of artificial lake in the Abuja stadium that will provide for 12 water sports, then the building of a five-star hotel here in Abuja. Lagos will also have the same thing. The adjourning land will have adjourning parks.
“The moment you put these two, the economic status of the stadia will be uplifted and you will have ?foreign athletes coming in because there will be facilities. That’s the best way we can maximise stadium in Abuja in view of how it was located,” Dalung stated.