THE Federal Government is to ammend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts, to better meet the demands of the creative industry sector.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday during a virtual forum of the AU Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage on the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the creative sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the virtual forum organised by the AU Commission for Social Affairs was chaired by Mohammed.
Addressing the forum, the minister said that the objectives of the Endowment is to support every medium and area of creative activity in the art, culture and heritage sector as well as foster professional excellence in the sector.
He said the government would work with the National Assembly for early ammendment of the Act to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the sector.
Mohammed noted that Covid-19 pandemic had negatively impacted on the world and every area of human endeavour wth the Art, Culture and Heritage sector being the worst hit.
He explained that the sector was worst hit because the entire industry is audience-centred.
Specifically,the minister said that social distancing, ban on mass gathering and travel restrictions put in place globally, made the industry to be worst hit.
He said in Nigeria, the impact had been particularly devastating, because of the importance and the relevance of the sector
to the national economy.
“The Nigeria Creative Industry is large,
diverse, dynamic and critical for economic growth, development and diversification.
“It is the biggest job creator after agriculture, with particularly great opportunities for women and the youth.
“The Industry also contributes between 2.5 and three per cent to the nation’s GDP,” he said.
In facing the challenges, Mohammed said the
government set up a 22-member stakeholders committee to come up with immediate, short and long term economic stimulus and initiatives for the industry.
He said in the wake of the pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria also set aside 50 billion Naira for small holder businesses and
the Creative Industry.
“I have no doubt that the measures we are
putting in place will yield positive results in sustaining the Creative Industry in Nigeria in the days to come,” he said.
Mohammed underscored the need for the African ministers to give the industry a shot in the arm during and after the pandemic.
He said the forum afforded the opportunity to provide an all-inclusive inter-disciplinary bond that places premium on culture as a sine qua non for all developmental initiatives in Africa.
Earlier, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mrs Amira Elfadil welcomed the ministers and other participants to the forum and underscored the need for collaborative efforts in fighting the common enemy, Covid-19.
She conveyed the greetings of the President of the AU and South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa to the forum.
NAN reports that the Director of Africa Centre for Disease Control, John Nkengasong and the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) Dr. Benedict Oramah made presentations to the forum.
NAN also reports that no fewer than 20 Ministers from different African countries made contributions at the virtual forum.
The countries included, Algeria, Gambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Mali, Tunisia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania.
Others are Uganda, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Zambia, Togo, Djibouti and. Saharawi Republic.
– May 27, 2020 @ 18:45 GMT /