Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government will amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts to enable it play pivotal role in responding to the demands of the sector, which has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Abuja yesterday in his opening remarks at the Virtual Forum of the African Union Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
Mohammed said the government decided to amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts to better meet the demands of the sector, which has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“The main objectives of the Endowment is to support every medium and area of creative activity in the art, culture and heritage sector as well as to foster professional excellence in the sector,” the minister, who doubles as the second vice chairperson of the African Union 3rd Specialised Technical Committee on Youth, Culture and Sport.
He noted that the creative industry remains the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic because it is audience-centred, and with the social distancing, ban on mass gathering and travel restrictions put in place globally, the fortunes of the industry has taken a nose dive.
“This is why we have decided to face the challenges squarely. Realising the imperative of having a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the situation, we have
set up a 22-member stakeholders committee, cutting across art, culture, heritage, tourism, streaming, music, film, among others, to come up with immediate, short and long term economic stimulus and initiatives for the industry in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector,” he said.
He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also set aside N50 billion for small holder businesses and the creative industry to support the industry in the post COVID-19 era.
The virtual meeting, which was chaired by the minister, was joined by about 20 Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa, who also made presentations.