The Federal Government is set to amend the Act that established the National Endowment for the Arts, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The amendment is aimed at enabling the Act play a pivotal role in responding to the demands of the sector, which has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement signed by Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, Alhaji Mohammed made this known in Abuja on Wednesday, in his opening remarks at the Virtual Forum of the African Union, AU, Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage.
The minister 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.
”The main objectives of the Endowment is to support every medium and area of creative activity in the art, culture and heritage sector as well as to foster professional excellence in the sector.”
The minister, who doubles as the 2nd Vice Chairperson of the AU’s 3rd Specialized Technical Committee on Youth Culture and Sport, noted that the creative industry remains the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, because it is audience-centred and, with the social distancing, ban on mass gathering and travel restrictions put in place globally, the fortunes of the industry has taken a nose dive.
Alhaji Mohammed added, “This is why we have decided to face the challenges squarely. Realizing the imperative of having a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the situation, we have set up a 22-member stakeholders committee, cutting across art, culture, heritage, tourism, streaming, music, film, etc., to come up with immediate, short and long term economic stimulus and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector.”
He disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has also set aside N50 billion for small holder businesses and the creative industry to support the industry in the post COVID-19 era, adding, “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. I also look forward to sharing in the experiences from other member-nations of the African Union in tackling the challenges occasioned by the pandemic.”
The virtual meeting, chaired by Alhaji Mohammed, had in attendance about 20 Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa, who made presentations.