Renowned actress, Joke Silva, has been appointed Chair of the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee to reactivate the state’s creative industry.
Silva, alongside the five other members of the Committee including comedian, Atunyota Akpobome (Ali Baba), Patrick Donald Lee, Dr Adun Okupe, textile designer and gallery owner, Nike Okundaye and Gbenga Sunmonu were inaugurated on Thursday.
Their inauguration happened less than 48 hours after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, inaugurated the Creative Industry Post-COVID-19 Initiatives Committee in Abuja virtually.
Incidentally, Ali Baba, who has also been included in the Lagos State Committee is heading the national body assessing the impact of the pandemic on the creative industry.
Speaking while inaugurating the Committee on Thursday at Alausa, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, said it was expected to make recommendations on ways to rejuvenate the tourism and entertainment industry shuttered because of COVID-19.
The Commissioner explained that “The situation in the world today was not pre-determined. This is where we are, and this is what we have seen happening to us. The tourism sector is one of the worst-hit sectors by this pandemic because, daily, Lagos records new cases and we must not shy away from the fact that COVID-19 is still with us
“Everywhere is shut down. The airline operators are not operating, there is nothing like art exhibitions, and hospitality businesses are on hold. So, we want to find a way to sustain our economy and the industry, even with the pandemic and see how best we can continue to improve on the creative sector.”
Akinbile-Yusuf added that the Committee’s terms of reference include conducting a holistic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and making recommendations on short and long term palliatives.
The Committee, which has two weeks to submit its report, is also expected to refocus attention towards the development of domestic tourism as an immediate measure to revitalise the industry. It will also advise on strategic actions that will ensure post-COVID-19 sustainability of the industry.
She assured that the Lagos State Government will not abandon the industry in such a precarious situation but provide support and encouragement to sustain tourism and ensure it thrives beyond COVID-19.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Arts and Culture, Solomon Bonu expressed happiness with the calibre of the Committee members. He asked them to bring their professionalism and expertise to bear on boosting the State’s tourism sector beyond the COVID-19 era.
Reacting, the Committee Chair, Silva, thanked the State Government for the opportunity to serve and assured that all members would work harmoniously to achieve the expected results.
She said, “I am fortunate to have intelligent people as members of the Committee because they are men and women who are very knowledgeable and passionate about the industry. I know that our collaboration will result in good recommendations. The creative industry has been greatly affected by COVID-19, but we will get through it.”
The Minister of Information and Culture had announced the establishment of the Creative Industry Post-COVID-19 Initiatives Committee a fortnight ago before he inaugurated the body on Tuesday in Abuja.
Membership of the Committee had, however, generated controversy with some players in the creative industry claiming it was not representative.
The membership was later expanded to include sectors omitted when the initial announcement was made a fortnight ago.