The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will hold a National Summit on Culture and Tourism next month in an effort to make the Culture and Tourism Sector a major revenue earner for the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Ahaji Lai Mohammed, announced the plan to host the summit on Thursday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, in his office in Lagos.
He said the summit, to be held in Abuja April 11th and 12th, would bring all stakeholders together to examine and proffer solutions to the problems mitigating against culture and tourism being huge revenue earners for the country.
”The summit will signpost our determination to put culture and tourism at the very centre of the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to diversify the economy away from oil,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He used the opportunity of the visit to invite Governor Ambode to the summit, saying Lagos State, which is a foremost hub of entertainment, arts, culture and tourism, has a big role to play in the efforts to reposition the creative industry in the country.
The Minister hailed the Lagos State Government for embarking on the provision of security and infrastructure, both of which are critical to boosting culture and tourism.
”With the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the Federal Government is currently in the process of diversifying the country’s economy to shift emphasis to other key sectors like tourism, agriculture and solid minerals. With particular reference to tourism, we have a lot to learn from the giant strides that have been made by this state in the provision of infrastructure, which is critical to stimulating tourism.
”The intra-city rail transportation system that is expected to come on stream in December 2016, the 10-lane highway to Bagadry, which is one of the state’s foremost tourist destinations, and the provision of effective security through the innovative Lagos State Security Trust Fund all stand the state in good stead to remain the top tourist destination for a long time to come,” he said.
The Minister also sought the support of Lagos State Government for the Federal Government’s efforts to revamp the National Theatre and restore its lost shine.
”Let me reiterate that the Federal Government will not sell the National Theatre. Our plan is to develop the fallow land around the edifice, using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, and then use the proceeds to rehabilitate the National Theatre. Again, Lagos State is a trailblazer in this respect, having successfully leveraged the PPP model for the Lekki Expressway,” he said.
Responding, Gov. Ambode said he has accepted the invitation to participate at the summit, adding: ”We will bring a large team.”
He commended Alhaji Mohammed for his invaluable role, as the National Publicity Secretary, in the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the last general elections, saying his appointment as Minister of Information and Culture is well deserved.
The Governor stressed the need for the country to pay greater attention to the service sector which, he said, has been neglected for a long time.