By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says over 200,000 jobs will be created with the N300 million credit facility provided by the Bank of Industry (BOI), for artists.
The minister made the disclosure at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between BOI and the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in Abuja on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports the MoU was presented to the minister by Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General of NCAC.
“I have been reliably informed that top on the list of the benefits that will accrue from this landmark MoU is creation of over 200,000 jobs for the sector.
“This is epochal and in line with one of the cardinal programmes of this administration, which is job creation and empowerment’’, he said.
The minister explained the MoU would act as a catalyst for the development of the country’s craft industries, create a financing window and assist NCAC members in capacity building.
Mohammed also said the MoU would encourage producers of cultural products and services to work toward attaining standard of modern practices in packaging of nation’s cultural products.
He said that the memorandum would also enable artists to compete favourably at the global markets and earn them a decent living.
Mohammed urged all states to take advantage of the loan for the development of the creative sector in their domains.
He said the details of how to access the fund would form a major part of discussions at the forthcoming meeting of Chief Executives of Culture in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, from May 9 to May 12.
The minister congratulated Runsewe for achieving the feat and putting the event together, few days after he assumed office.
He also appreciated the Acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, for his support and partnership.
The minister described the MoU as `a right step in a right direction and one of the biggest achievements the sector had recorded in recent time.’
He said the Ministry had signed MoU with local and international partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council, to develop the capacity of creative artists.
Earlier, Runsewe said it was the first time in the history of the country that the industry was given a single digit approach to loans.
He disclosed that two other similar MoUs were in the offing for the development of the sector
Runsewe commended the minister for changing the nation’s narrative under his leadership and for his passion for the development of the culture and creative sector.