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FG to amend National Endowment for the Arts Act

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The Federal Government is to amend 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 N50 billion 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.


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