The Federal Government is considering the need to amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts in Nigeria in a bid to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative industry.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this while addressing a forum of the African Union Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative sector last week.
Mohammed who chaired the virtual forum organised by the AU Commission for Social Affairs said: “We have decided to amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts so it can better meet the demands of the sector, which has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.”
Alhaji Mohammed also said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside N50 billion, which comes as loans, for small-holder businesses and the creative industry to support the industry in the post COVID-19 era.
He explained that the creative sector is worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic because it is audience-centred and with the social distancing protocols, ban on mass gatherings as well as travel restrictions, the industry’s fortunes has been negatively impacted.
“The Nigerian creative industry is large, diverse, dynamic and critical for economic growth, development and diversification. It is the biggest job creator after agriculture, with particularly great opportunities for women and the youth.
“The Industry also contributes between 2.5 and three per cent to the nation’s GDP.
“I have no doubt that the measures we are putting in place will yield positive results in sustaining the creative industry in Nigeria in the days to come,” he added.
Established in 1991, the National Endowment for the Arts Act is aimed at
supporting creativity and creatives for the promotion of cultural heritage and knowledge in Nigeria.
Last month, the Minister had inaugurated a 20-member committee chaired by Ali Baba Atuyota to deliberate for one month and submit recommendations on ways in which the tourism and creative industry has been affected by the pandemic and how the federal government can mitigate the effect.
The committee is expected to make its submission this week.