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Creative industry crucial to economic growth, says minister


Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed

MINISTER of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the creative industries as well as culture have a great role to play in the ongoing diversification of Nigeria’s economy.

Alhaji Mohammed, while receiving the Country Director of the British Council, Ms. Connie Price, in his office in Abuja said the Federal Government would not restrict its efforts at diversifying the economy to agriculture and solid minerals.

He said, “Even before knowing that the price of crude oil was going to plummet to about $38 per barrel, this government had promised Nigerians during its campaign that it was going to diversify the economy. Diversification of our economy is not just limited to agriculture or solid minerals or even the real sector. I think one area where we need capital investment is in the area of culture because this abounds everywhere.

“Our biggest challenge so far is how do we harness this abundant cultural heritage and create an economy out of it? There is virtually no state in Nigeria today that cannot boast of three, four or five cultural industries, either pottery, painting, textile making or leather works,” he said.

The Minister however, listed inadequate knowledge and the capacity to translate the nation’s abundant cultural heritage into a viable economy as the bane of the sector, and therefore sought the assistance of the British Council to support his ministry to surmount the challenges.

Responding, the Country Director, accompanied on her courtesy visit by the Arts Director, Ms. Ojoma Ochai and the Partnership Director, Mr. Chikoli Onyemerela, said the diversification of the economy had been a huge challenge in Britain because of the country’s over-reliance on industries.

“People might not realize this but this has been an issue in the UK until very recently, particularly in the North of our country where many cities have been dependent on industries and the industries have now gone and we have empty factories,” she said.

Ms. Price said her country had now turned its thinking away from mono-economic dependence by giving vent to its culture and creative industries, which are now bringing billions of pounds into the British economy.

According to Ms. Price, Britain had initially witnessed a crisis of management in its cultural institutions because of their orientation as agencies of state that relied solely on state funding, but noted that through the diversification of the economy, the agencies had been re-orientated to think creatively in order to earn revenue instead of depending on government.

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