A Chinese envoy to Nigeria, Li Xuda, told the Federal Government on Saturday to focus more on developing the creative industry to fortify Nigeria’s economy.
Xuda, who is the Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, gave the advice at a zoom meeting organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture in Lagos.
The theme of the meeting was: “COVID-19: Cultural Dynamism, Which Way Forward.”
The envoy, who is also the Director of the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, noted that Nigeria had huge potential in its creative industry.
According to him, the creative industry can be developed fully by adequately funding cultural outfits to enable them groom the industry.
He said that considering the impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria must begin to develop other sectors of its economy and diversify from oil.
The diplomat advised Nigeria to focus on fashion, film production as well as arts and culture, describing the sectors as money-spinners in the creative space.
Xuda said: “Nigeria has very rich creative industry.
“The nation is known to have the biggest economy in Africa, but this can be bigger if it can develop the creative industry.
“The industry has great potential of creating employment opportunities for youths.”
The counsellor said the creative industry was capable of saving Nigeria from going into recession, advising government to formulate policies for the ease of developing its creative industry.
An Art Consultant, Jahman Anikulapo, called for the formulation of policies that would make Nigeria’s art and culture industry to compete favourably with those in other climes.
The former Editor on Sunday of The Guardian Newspapers, said in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, endowment funds ought to be established for practitioners in the creative industry.
Also, President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Oliver Enwonwu, told government to put policies in place to support intellectual property right, noting that most artists now exhibited their works online.
Enwonwu said there was the need to guide against intellectual theft in arts, where people duplicated art works and that there was also the need to create reliable payment platforms and structures to transact businesses online.
On his part, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Nigeria, David Velasquez, pleaded with world leaders to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Velasquez said that Venezuela had produced a series of videos and books to help enlighten citizens on preventive measures to adopt, noting that the fight against COVID-19 was a fight for all.
Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said all the suggestions and observations were noted and that steps would be taken to solve most of the problems.
Runsewe reiterated that a compendium that would capture stakeholder’s suggestions and contributions toward the growth of the creative industry after the coronavirus crisis would be produced.