The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, says paucity of funds has slowed down the concession of the National Stadium, Lagos.
Dalung said in Lagos that the approval for the concession of the stadium was inherited by his ministry but lamented that the machinery was not set in motion.
He also said that hope was not lost as the concession was at the point of appointment of a Transactional Adviser and funding.
“We have funds that we are applying for empowerment because in the 2016 budget, there was no provision for it, so we want intervention from government but the government has said for now they don’t have funds and we don’t want the process to end.
“So, we have applied for funds for the process so that we can have funds which were allocated earlier for renovation and deploy it to the concession process.
“We have gotten so many people who have declared interest, their profile is indeed rich enough and they have even given us an idea of what they intend to put in place but our agreement has been that it is not only the national stadium.
“Whosoever is coming into the concession arrangement will take the adjoining land too and must develop it alongside the national stadium by building either a five star hotel there and bars around it before you will talk about the national stadium.
“So that we don’t come and pick the nation stadium alone and then run back into the same situation we are trying to come out of.
“If we succeed in getting the funds, we will be moving ahead with the issue of the concession and it may be within the year or early next year,’’ he said.
On the swimming pool at the National Stadium, Lagos that has been rehabilitated, he noted that everything was almost over and remained just final touches.
“The issue of the funds situation needs to be solved so that we can do the final touch and hand it over for use because it cannot be commissioned twice but it’s been difficult since we don’t have funds.
“But of late, I have been informed that the money is available and if it is, we will discharge the contractor and take over the swimming pool.
“We intend to hand over the swimming pool to somebody that will manage it so that it is not left to us government again for it to go back to the same situation.
“Whosoever is managing it will be generating funds, paying us and also generating his money from the process before the entire process of concession. I think that is the unfortunate solution that has to do with the swimming pool.
The Youths' Digest is a specialized youth magazine geared toward entertaining, educating and informing the youths on various issues of interest that are of paramount importance to them and their wellbeing.