Reps oppose sale of National Theatre, urge minister to boost tourism
The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Mr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, has reiterated his opposition to the sale of the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.Ogbeide-Ihama made this known at an interactive session between his committee and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism maintained that the position was in the best interest of Nigerians and has promised to wade into the crises between the Artistic Director of the national monument and his personnel in the event the Minister fails to resolve the problems.
Ogbeide-Ihama expressed concern over the neglect of the culture and tourism sector, adding that it was incumbent on the authorities to invest heavily in the sector, as a way to diversify the economy.
He argued that the culture and tourism sector could easily provide the enabling environment for skill acquisition and employment opportunities for the teeming youths aside boosting the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Ogbeide-Ihama believed that the spate of clashes among ethnic groups in the country would be drastically curtailed if Nigerians are availed the opportunities to appreciate the festivals, carnivals and cultural practices that abound in the country.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism who urged the Minister to prevail on the Federal Executive Council ( FEC) to provide funds for the development of the sector assured that he would reciprocate the gesture by pushing for adequate budgetary approval for the sector.
The Minister who presented his Ministry’s 2018 budgetary proposal worth N2. 6 billion for approval by the lawmakers remarked that he had been able to provide the enabling environment for the culture and tourism sector to thrive.
He cited the five-year tax incentive put in place for those that invest N100 billion in the creative industry, which comprise the film and music industry as an instance of government intervention, saying that the creative industry contributes 1.6 per cent to the GDP.
He explained that the decision by an Indian firm, which is presently negotiating with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to build 50 cinemas across the country, was aimed at achieving the objective.
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