The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has called on the federal government to mainstream tourism in the nation’s diversification and transformation agenda and also focus attention on creativity for development, if it must take its rightful place among the comity of the 20 biggest economies on the African continent.
The Minister, who stated this at the closing ceremony of the 7th Abuja National Carnival, tagged “Carnival of Reconciliation,” maintained that tourism is the third biggest economic sector in the world and if Nigeria is to go by global best practices, mainstreaming the sector is a viable option that needs to be considered.
According to Duke, Nigeria has the resources and creative ability, especially our youths, to ensure that this comes to reality: “It is my belief that the creative industry in Nigeria has already reached the top and has taken the name of Nigeria beyond our expectation. If we can only spare some consideration on tourism, we will be sure that our rural communities, poor people and young men will find opportunities for self-actualization”.
On the recently approved Tourism Development Fund, the Minister expressed his heartfelt appreciation to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for approving the establishment of the fund which, he said, will provide the enabling ground for Nigeria to go to the private sector to generate funding for the promotion of culture, tourism and national orientation.
He thanked Mr. President for unfolding a new agenda and mandate to the culture sector, stressing that the ministry will proceed with every sense of patriotism to ensure that there are necessary resources for the sector to enhance professionalism and activate the Nigerian Tourism Master Plan and ensure the transit from a master plan into an action plan.
Speaking in a similar manner, the Vice President, Arch. Nnamadi Sambo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, in declaring the Abuja Carnival closed, said the present administration is ready to provide an enabling environment for the effective development of the culture and tourism sector, stressing that government will continue to empower the ministry to strategize and reposition itself to be objective driven.
He further solicited the support of all stakeholders to work closely to turn around the sector to become an enabling industry capable of generating job opportunities as well as community wealth thereby contributing substantially to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).