Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has said the high rate of foreign exchange currently experienced in Nigeria is affecting the country’s preparation for the Rio Olympic Games.
The minister, who made the comment as he appeared before the Senate Committee on Sports on Thursday, added that lack of funds have prevented the athletes from camping overseas.
Currently, a Nigeria naira goes for $197 and £286 in the official market while it almost doubles in the parallel market.
“It’s a bit more difficult for us now because of the exchange rate. Funding for our remaining programmes is unavailable,” the minister was quoted as saying by his personal assistant on media, Nneka Ikem.
“We had a shortfall of N13b which wasn’t captured in the budget and I raised an alarm.
While also briefing the committee on Rio Olympics preparation, Dalung was optimistic the Nigerian athletes will have a good outing at the games.
He said; “We are hopeful that Nigerian athletes will make a better outing in Rio.
“We’ve made good progress in the preparation of athletes for the Games.”
The minster however was quick to stress that some positives have been achieved by the government as payments for accommodation and contingency have been made.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba said the lawmakers did all within their power during the budget defence to ensure the athletes are well catered for, noting that the federal government should do all that is required for adequate preparation ahead of this summer’s Olympics.