The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
charged states and local governments to leverage their unique culture
and tourism products to generate income and create jobs.
In his keynote address at the opening of the 9th National Council on
Tourism, Culture and National Orientation in Dutse, Jigawa State, on
Friday, the Minister said the charge stems from the fact that the
Federal Government has recognized the Creative Industry, of which
culture and tourism are integral parts, as a key sector to create jobs
and wealth and to earn foreign exchange, as reflected in the Economic
Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 to 2020.
”It is common knowledge that all the States and Local Governments
have unique products, festivals and outstanding tourism sites. I,
therefore, wish to also encourage all the Managers of Culture and
Tourism at the State and Local Government levels to make the necessary
efforts to develop these products and tourism sites in partnership
with the private sector, in order to attract both domestic and
international investors and tourists,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said countries like China, Brazil, India, United
Kingdom, United States of America, France and Egypt, to mention a few,
have mainstreamed culture and tourism as vital parts of their economic
agenda to generate income and sustainable employment for their
citizens, and redirect the energies of their youths for productive
He said against the backdrop of the fall in oil prices, the Federal
Government was clear – right from the onset – in its determination to
enhance the economic fortunes of Nigeria through the diversification
of the country’s economy, with a view to reducing poverty, creating
jobs, stimulating revenue generation, ensuring effective utilization
of local resources and providing sustainable peace and security.
”This is why we have consistently been evolving policies and
programmes to explore the tourism and culture sector, in collaboration
with our partners and stakeholders, to reposition Nigeria’s economy.
Against this backdrop, the theme of this year’s meeting is apt and in
tandem with our Administration’s avowed commitment to boosting the
economy through the non-oil sector,” the Minister said.
He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in
its bid to reposition the sector, has established 14 Cultural Industry
Centres with necessary facilities across the six geo-political zones
of the federation to serve as skills acquisition and capacity building
centres for the country’s teeming youth and women, with the aim of
creating wealth, generating jobs and boosting national GDP.
Alhaji Mohammed listed some of the major challenges facing the culture
and tourism sector as the need to package the festivals and other
tourist attractions into products that can be marketed and sold, as
well as evolving a strategy to increase domestic and international
”Concerning international tourism, we have realized that our clear
competitive advantage is our Film and Music industries. Whether it is
Nollywood, Kannywood, or Afrobeat. Consequently, we will be harnessing
them to promote our country as a tourism destination.
”Seeing our sites, people, culture and cities through films and music
video should spur many to want to explore the country. That’s why we
have reached an agreement with the UN World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO) and the global news channel CNN to showcase Nigeria globally,
from the perspective of our film and entertainment industry. Indeed,
packaging, marketing and thinking outside the box is the future of
tourism,” he said.