The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said on Thursday in Lagos that the Federal Government was prepared to explore and exploit tourism as its new oil.
The minister said this at a news briefing he addressed to officially announce the forthcoming Creative Industry Financing Conference slated for July 13 and July 14 in Lagos.
Mohammed said that the government attached importance to the Creative Industry in line with its cardinal programme of diversifying the economy away from oil.
He said that the other sectors being developed into pillars of the economy included Agriculture and Solid Minerals.
“To those who may still be wondering what is in the Creative Industry? My answer is that it is Nigeria’s new oil.
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“The overall essence of all our efforts is to transform the Creative Industry to a Creative Economy.
“We also believe that this transformation must be driven by the private sector, with the government providing the enabling environment,’’ he said.
According to the minister, the conference which is being organised in conjunction with the Think Tank Media will be declared open by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He stressed that the event was organised to underscore the high priority given to the creative industry by the government in its diversification policy.
“Other countries have also taken advantage of the industry to grow their economy.
“The Creative industry contributed 84.1 billion Pounds Sterling to the British economy in 2014.
“It also contributed 698 billion dollars to the U.S economy, according to a 2015 report.
“Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind, hence we are ready to explore and exploit the new oil,” he said.
Mohammed said that the conference was conceived upon the realisation that lack of access to financing was stunting the growth of the Creative Industry.
He assured that the conference would take the industry into a golden era of smooth access to short and long-term financing and world class management.
Mohammed disclosed that topics such as, “Government’s Role in Funding Creative Industry’, ‘Fundamentals of financing film, Television and Music Production” would be tackled by global experts from within and outside Nigeria.
He said that the Niger Republic had indicated its willingness to attend the event.