The Federal Government has identified arts, culture and tourism among the sectors that would form the mainstream of its economic diversification programmes.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Lagos on Sunday at a meeting with Arts, Culture and Tourism correspondents.
A statement issued on the event by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, said that arts, culture and tourism would be made the veritable sources of revenue for the nation.
The minister in the statement said: ``This administration is diversifying the economy away from oil, which for many years has been the mainstay of our economy.
``We are working hard to move these sectors from the margins to the mainstream, and ensure that the rural poor in particular are factored into the sector's architecture.’’
Mohammed added that special attention would be paid to capacity building of culture and tourism managers in order to revive the nation’s creative arts, boost tourism and create employment particularly for the rural dwellers.
He disclosed that the ministry was working with local and international partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council, in mapping out creative arts.
``By this we mean; pottery, weaving, dyeing, sculpturing, etc, to review them massively through capacity building for those involved and the provision of loans.
``We believe this will not only create hundreds of thousands of jobs, thus keeping our people meaningfully engaged, it will also become money spinners for the economy and stem the rural-urban migration,” he said.
Mohammed identified the non-involvement of local communities in the tourism and culture architecture as one of the banes of the sector.
The minister promised to reverse the trend through the training of the locals on specific skills that would enable them to participate actively in the tourism and culture economy.
He assured the public that government would muster the political will to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing the sector.
``We are not naive enough to believing that repositioning these critical sectors will be a walk-in-the park.
``We do know, for example, that tourism is a multi-sectoral issue that involves easier access to visas, provision of necessary infrastructure like roads and adequate security.
``This is why we have decided to call a National Summit on Culture and Tourism, which is scheduled for April 27 to April 29 in Abuja, with a view to charting the path forward.
``We are aware that similar efforts had been made in the past, without an appreciable result.
``The difference, this time, is our commitment and
the different milieu provided by the national imperative to diversify the economy, amidst the crash in the price of oil,’’ he said.
Mohammed, therefore, solicited the support and cooperation of the media to achieve the goal of repositioning the sectors into the main pillars of the economy.