AfricaNigeriaSociety and Culture

FG to establish National Endowment to foster professionalism in Arts

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that his ministry has decided to expedite the process of establishing the National Endowment for Arts, with the main objectives of supporting every medium and area of creative activity in the field of art as well as fostering professional excellence in the arts, among others.

He disclosed this at the Virtual Forum of the African Union Ministers Responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa on Wednesday, the Minister said the mechanism for the creation of National Endowment for the Arts has been on for the past 30 years, but the government is now set to work with the National Assembly to remove whatever has been impeding the set-up for the Endowment.

According to him, “We believe there is no better time than now to establish the National Endowment for the Arts, because it will catalyze the rebound of the entire 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 added that this virtual meeting is a sign of the times, and a poignant reminder of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the world. This forum gives us the opportunity to discuss, and proffer solutions, to the current challenges brought upon the Art, Culture and Heritage Sector. “The main challenge before us, therefore, is how to give the industry a shot in the arm in a post-Covid-19 world. For us here in Nigeria, the impact has been particularly devastating, because of the importance and the relevance of the sectorto 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 3% to the nation’s GDP”, he said.He looked forward to sharing in the experiences from other member-nations of the African Union in tackling the challenges occasioned by the pandemic.

I strongly hope all the objectives of this Forum will be met, and will also provide an all-inclusive inter-disciplinary bond that places premium on culture as a sine qua non for all developmental initiatives in Africa.

It is also my sincere hope that this summit will, in a most creative way, provide practical, measured, and systematic recommendations that will foster public private initiatives for the development of the Creative Industry in Africa”, he said.

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