FG to amend act establishing National Endowment for the Arts

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
the Federal Government will amend the Act establishing 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 stated this in Abuja, in his opening remarks
at the Virtual Forum of the African Union Ministers responsible for
Arts, Culture and Heritage.

”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,” said Alhaji
Mohammed, who doubles as the 2nd Vice Chairperson of the African
Union’s 3rd Specialized Technical Committee on Youth Culture and
Sport.

He 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.

“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,” the Minister said.

He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also set aside 50
billion Naira for small holder businesses and the Creative Industry to
support the industry 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,” the Minister said.

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

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