The President, Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria, George Ashiru, has appealed to the Federal Government to grant 10 per cent tax rebate to private sector operators who sponsor sports in Nigeria.
He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday at the 1st Calabar Open Taekwondo Championship in Calabar.
Ashiru said that the rebate would encourage the businesses to do more for sports development in Nigeria.
He urged the National Assembly to pass bills that would make a law for the government to offer 10 per cent tax rebate to business concerns of individuals and corporate organisations that sponsor sports in the country.
“There is need for the private sector to be involved in the sponsorship of sports because government alone cannot foot the bills of various sporting federations.
“I bet you that most of multinationals will prefer to back sports if they are assured of a rebate of no less than 10 per cent 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 taekwondo,’’ he said
Ashiru said that the dearth of medals for Nigeria’s contingents to previous Olympic Games was due to lack of continuity in sports administration and proper planning.
He disclosed that taekwondo federation had already earmarked four centres of excellence for the development of the sport in Nigeria.
Also speaking to NAN, Ima Onoko, Managing Director, First Royal Microfinance Bank, one of the sponsors of the championship, said that the company was sponsoring the sports in line with the bank’s corporate social responsibility.
She appealed to taekwondo federation to locate one of its proposed centres in Calabar because of the abundance of talents in the area.
“We have come to understand that the resources sunk into the sponsorship were not a waste but an instrument for boosting human capital development and social growth, which is worth the while.
Similarly, Usen Umoh, Managing Director of Royal International Farms and Estates Limited, one of the sponsors, said that 116 athletes in the sports, drawn from 14 states of the country participated in the three-day championship.
He expressed satisfaction with the level of participation, including the Police and the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, which fielded contingents in the male and female categories.
NAN reports that medals on offer were for flyweight, bantamweight, welterweight and the middleweight categories, with financial prizes for winners of medals.