The Federal Government says it is collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide palliative and strategic intervention to the creative industry to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the sector.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at a virtual 2nd African Ministerial Roundtable on the Recovery of Travel and Tourism.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the roundtable, chaired by Dr. Taleb Rifai, immediate past Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, was attended by African tourism ministers.
Mohammed said: “By and large, the pandemic has been very severe on the creative and entertainment industry, but the government is reaching out through the CBN to provide palliatives and intervention to cushion the effects of the pandemic.”
The Minister said the tourism industry contributes about 2 per cent to the nation’s GDP and it is the second largest employer of labour after agriculture.
Specifically, he said the hospitality and tourism industry employs about 4 million people and contributes N1.2 trillion to the economy.
He noted that unlike some other African countries that are rich in traditional tourism, including sites, lake, leisure parks and safari, Nigeria’s area of comparative advantage are films, music, fashion beauty and hair care sectors.
Mohammed said because of the challenge of social distancing, there has been no concert, cinema houses are closed film production and distribution had been on the decline.
He noted that for cinema house to reopen the Cinema Employers Association must put in place certain protocols that will be able to contain the pandemic.
The minister added that the government is working out plans to give the aviation industry a lump sum to support some of the industry operators.
Specifically, Mohammed said the local airlines, which have to pack their aircraft for a long time and needed to undergo checks on them would be supported.
Rifai commended the minister for his passion for the industry and the efforts he has been making to transform the Nigeria’s tourism sector.
NAN reports that some other African ministers also gave the accounts of the effects of the pandemic on the sector and what their governments were doing to mitigate the effects.