The Minister of Information and Culture, Alahaji Lai Mohammed has said that the neglect of culture is responsible for the failure of development agenda of many countries.
He also said that it was the importance of culture to economic development that informed Mohammadu Buhari-led administration’s focus on creative industries.
Mohammed stated, this in his welcome address at the opening ceremony of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organised by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and held in Benin City, the Edo State capital. Commending NICO for the idea behind the programme, the Minister who was represented by the Director Entertainment and Creative Services of the Ministry, Augustus Babajide Ajibola, said the theme was in in line with the policy thrust of this administration.
He added that the timing of the event was appropriate, especially at this moment the government is committed to the diversification of Nigerian economy. “I commend the Institute for this wonderful initiative. It is in line with the policy thrust of this administration. Culture is a major pillar of sustainable development.
This is why neglect or non-recognition of culture is responsible for the failure of development agenda of many countries. It is imperative that we see culture as the veritable catalyst for sustainable development. The policy of this government is geared towards creative industries as harbingers of change and to create a value chain of wealth creation and alleviation of poverty,” Mohammed said.
According to him, “it was in respect of this that culture was recently granted the pioneer status under the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act No 22 of 1971 cap 117 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (IDITRA). This means that any direct foreign investment or an inflow that is up to One Hundred Million Naira (N 100, 000, 000) attracts an immediate tax rebate and holiday of three years.”
The Executive Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, represented by the State’s Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, said that without culture no nation or human being will have identity.
According to him, the new direction for any country to make it big in modern time is culture and tourism, “because culture is way of life of the people passed on from one generation to the other. Tourism is a cultural heritage that remains all the time and will never dry.” He added that culture should be treated as a viable aspect of Nigerian economy.
“Culture can create enormous wealth for a nation just like oil. Let us treat culture as our new oil. Culture should be boosted very seriously.
This informed why we give culture prominence in Edo State. We interface with many cultures to create sustainable cultural diplomacy. Please before you go find time to visit some cultural and tourist sites and attractions in Edo State. You will enjoy them,” he said.
In his remarks, the Acting Executive Secretary, NICO, Mr Louis Eriomala, said ARTCO was an intellectual platform designed by NICO to bring together scholars, interest groups, stakeholders to exchange ideas on specific topical issues.
He also said that the choice of the 2018 theme, Mainstreaming Culture in the Nation’s Economic Agenda was fashioned out to enhance the contribution of culture to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product and sustainable Development.
“ARTCO is an intellectual platform designed by NICO to bring together scholars, interest groups, stakeholders to exchange ideas on specific topical issues and to make recommendations that would impact on government policies and their execution. The theme of the 2018 edition is Mainstreaming Culture in the Nation’s Economic Agenda.
Our decision to choose this theme was because of the critical importance of culture to economic development. Culture can enhance GDP, gone are the days we see culture as dance, drama and music,” Eriomala said.
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