The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described the creative industry in Nigeria as its new oil.
According to him, the feats that practitioners are recording in the different areas of the sector, coupled with the potential in the country’s arts, culture, tourism and entertainment, indicates that it harbours a breakthrough for the nation.
The minister noted that Nigeria could not afford to take the creative industry with levity as it had become the cash cow for many other nations.
He said, “The creative industry contributed 84.1 billion pounds Sterling to the British economy in 2014. It also contributed $698 bn to the US Economy, according to a 2015 report. So, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind; hence, we are ready to explore and exploit the new oil.”
Mohammed made this known in Lagos on Thursday when he spoke about the Creative Industry Financing Conference holding in the city on Monday and Tuesday.
The conference organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the Think Tank Media, will be declared open by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and it is scheduled to start after a stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos on Monday.
According to the minister, the main objective of the conference is to take the industry into a golden era of smooth access to short and long-term financing, world-class management as well as local and international distribution.
Mohammed said on Thursday, “We conceived this conference because of our realisation that lack
of access to financing is stunting the growth of the creative industry. It is the latest in a series of conferences and other events that we have held since assuming office. Recall that we held the landmark National Summit on Culture and Tourism last year to chart the path for the industry. Most of its recommendations are already being implemented.
“Also, on Monday, we held a Roundtable on the Creative Industry here in Lagos. Recall also that we have signed a number of MoUs, with the Bank of Industry, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council, all for the sole purpose of boosting the Creative Industry.
“This Administration attaches a lot of importance to the creative industry. This is in line with its cardinal programme of diversifying the economy away from oil.
Other sectors being developed into pillars of the economy include the creative industry, agriculture and solid minerals.”
Mohammed added that some of the issues to be discussed at the conference included ‘Government’s Role in Funding Creative Industry: The Bank of Industry Experience’, ‘Fundamentals of financing film, Television and
Music Production’ and ‘Film, Television and Digital Distribution’.
“Our neighbour, Niger Republic, has also indicated its willingness to attend the event, having shown a growing interest in our efforts to grow the creative industry. We expect a large turnout of stakeholders at the forthcoming conference, just as we had a full house at the Creative Industry Roundtable on Monday. The overall essence of all our efforts is to transform the sector into a creative economy. We also believe that this transformation must be driven by the private sector, with the government providing the enabling environment,” Mohammed said.
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