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NCAC holds conference on COVID-19’s impact on Nigeria’s creative sector tomorrow

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Otunba Olusegun Runsewe


The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) will tomorrow hold a conference to set agenda for the creative industry. Titled, COVID-19: Impact on Nigeria’s creative sector, the conference has been convened by the Director General of NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe. Guest speakers include, Alhaji Rabo Sabo Saleh Kareem, President Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, Israel Eboh, President of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and others.

According to Runsewe, the conference is geared towards repositioning the sector following the manner COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the creative industry.

Runsewe, who is also the President of World Crafts Council, African Region, said the industry is not only the cement that binds together hearts and souls, but the entire nation.

He noted that the industry’s contribution to economic growth is humongous. It is estimated that the industry generate US$250 billion in revenue every year, creating 29.5 million jobs worldwide.

He said, “this provides a good reason for government support of arts and culture, especially in developing countries where there are so many other demands on the public purse.”

Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria recently approved the appointment of comedian Ali Baba, Segun Arinze and others into a committee of creative industry stakeholders to advise it on the best way to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced this, last Wednesday, May 8, in Abuja. Alhaji Mohammed noted that the creative industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy and a major plank of the economic diversification policy of the Buhari administration, as it creates the highest number of jobs after agriculture.

He also stressed the need for a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the immediate, short and long term palliatives and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the industry.

“We have, therefore, decided that instead of addressing this problem piecemeal, we should do so holistically for a more positive outcome,” he said, noting that the creative industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy.Less than two days after, a coalition of Nollywood groups kicked against their non-inclusion in FG’s COVID-19 committee on creative industry

In a statement jointly signed on Thursday, the coalition — made of about 18 guilds and associations — said it was unfortunate that the government would take such action without considering the leadership structure of the industry.

The coalition also urged the minister to reconstitute the committee to reflect the industry’s leadership representatives and not only “hand-picking a few practitioners no matter how prominent they may be.”

According to Eboh, “we decided to come out with the statement because of the non recognition of our sector.

He noted, “it is an incontrovertible fact that, the Nigerian creative industry with over 20 guilds, employs about 2.5 million Nigerian youths; and is recognised globally as the fastest growing creative industry.”

Reechoing the statement of the coalition, Eboh said, “these 2.5 million Nigerians belong to associations and organisations generally referred to as guilds, whom they have willingly through legitimate elections handed over the incumbency of their mandates; saying in essence speak and act on our behalf on matters affecting our interests, welfare and wellbeing!”

He asked, “under which mandate are these people speaking? How can they speak for the sector? Why do we have leadership? As leaders, we are more in touch with our members. Who can be more stakeholders than the associations and guilds?”

He added, “it is indeed compelling that any discussion concerning the welfare of the industry should as a matter of equity and transparency involve the participation of those guild heads.”


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