On Wednesday, 6th May, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, held a meeting with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja. There, he announced that a committee of creative industry stakeholders has been set up by the Federal Government to advice on the best way to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the industry.
The creative industry, which is made up mainly of film, music, theatre, fashion and photography, is one of the industries that has felt the impact of the pandemic greatly. Due to restrictions on social gatherings, many businesses in the industry have not been able carry out their activities normally.
Mohammed, in his speech, highlighted the important role the industry, which contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), plays in the country.
“The creative industry is a very critical sector of the nation’s economy and a major plank of the economic diversification policy of this administration.”, he said, “It creates the highest number of jobs after agriculture, especially for the youth.
“Therefore, there is no doubt that we need a collective and government-supported approach in dealing with the immediate, short and long term palliatives and initiatives for the industry, in order to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the sector.”, he added.
The committee, which is made up of stakeholders from across the sector, has been mandated to send in a report within 4 weeks. The report is to cover the following areas;
- Assess the pandemic on the industry in general;
- Advice the FG on how to mitigate job and revenue losses in the sector as well as create succour for the industry’s small businesses;
- Suggest the type of taxation and financing that is best for the industry at this time to encourage growth;
- Advice the government on any other measure(s) that can be undertaken to support the industry.
The committee will be chaired by ace comedian, Ali Baba, and includes other representatives; Bolanle Austen-Peters, Segun Arinze, Dare Art Alade, Charles Novia, Kene Okwuosa, Chioma Ude, Baba Agba, Ali Jita, Efe Omorogbe, Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim, Anita Eboigbe, Olumade Adesemowo and Prince Daniel Aboki.
The committee, however, is still expecting representatives from the fashion, publishing, photography, hospitality and travel sectors, as pointed out by the Minister.
In his reaction to this action by the FG, Charles Novia, media entrepreneur and CEO of Teen TV, applauded the FG for recognising the creative industry at a time like this;
“In these uncertain times and with the entertainment sector badly affected as with other reeling sectors of the economy”, he said, “the committee as set up by the FG, will make the best recommendations for the sectors we represent.
“Thankfully, the FG recognises our sector as one of the pivots in job creation and though we have all been badly affected by the Covid-19 economic fallouts, we are hopeful that with the right actions taken after the committee makes its recommendations, we will be out of the woods.”, he added.
At the meeting, the Minister announced that the FG has approved the request by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to grant a two-month licence fee waiver for terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria.
He also made it known that the NBC has sent out protective equipments to community broadcast stations across the country.
This move by the FG is definitely a welcome one that will go a long way in helping the fashion sector and others under the creative industry.