Importance of sport to the economy

Nemani Nadolo in action for Montpellier. Picture: T14 RUGBY

THE revelation that sports stars plying their trade overseas are contributing between $30 million and $60m to the Fijian economy annually is interesting.

It actually places this form of remittance on a very high pedestal.

There are many ways these remittances churn out positives.

They help to cover basic needs for those who are at the receiving end.

When that gets to the intended recipients, there are numerous ways they would be moved on, and possibly have a positive impact on areas such as education, housing, food, and medical assistance.

They serve to raise standards of life, and the positive impacts have a roll-on effect.

Subsequently this rubs off on the domestic economy via various means.

There are investment opportunities, financial considerations for major acquisitions and reassurance for families back in Fiji.

The key ingredient though remains the provider of the remittance, with the hopes and aspirations of families hanging on their ability to continue this vital assistance.

Fiji National Sports Commission executive chairman Peter Mazey said sport was now an industry, not just physical activity.

He said after speaking to the Reserve Bank of Fiji and other stakeholders, it was estimated that sportsmen were sending up to $60m home and the underlining importance of sport to the economy had to be recognised.

He made the statements during a recent presentation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, while making a submission on the Convention on Manipulation of Sports Competitions.

Remittances have been the second largest foreign exchange earner for Fiji.

Our sportsmen and women plying their trade abroad empower this chain of events that have a positive impact on the domestic economy.

In the long run, we stand to benefit as a nation, with the process feeding arms that sustain our economy, and maintain some semblance of order for families impacted by such remittances.

Acknowledge is obviously due to all those who make this an annual process. From our end, there would certainly be a need to invest in financial literacy.

We would need to work together to develop initiatives that empower recipients, create awareness of opportunities and the importance of financial considerations.

While sceptics would insist usage of the remittances are at the whims of the recipients, there will no doubt be hope that the ultimate goal would always be the family, with consideration for living standards, and their future prospects.

The revelation certainly is noteworthy and does add some perspective to the importance of sports as a career path.

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