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COVID-19: FG to amend National Endowment for the Arts Act

Says audience-centred creative industry worst hit by pandemic

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In a bid meet the demands of the creative sector and reposition it post-COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government says it will soon send a bill to amend the Act establishing the National Endowment for the Arts to the National Assembly.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, said the amendment would enable the National Endowment for the Arts to enable it to play a pivotal role in responding to the demands of the sector which has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister said this in Abuja on Wednesday in his opening remarks at the virtual forum of the African Union Ministers responsible for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

The virtual meeting, which was chaired by Alhaji Mohammed, was joined by about 20 Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Africa, who also made presentations.

Mohammed 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.”

Mohammed, who is also the 2nd Vice-Chairperson of the African Union’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.

“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.

“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.

“It cuts 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,” the Minister said in a statement by Mr  Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture and obtained by Persecondnews.

He restated that the Central Bank of Nigeria had set asideN50 billion ra for smallholder businesses and the creative industry to support it in the post Covid-19 era.

“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,” Mohammed said.

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