The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Culture and Tourism sector of his administration's commitment to continually provide the enabling environment for arts, culture and tourism to thrive and develop, through massive upgrading of infrastructure and the provision of security in government’s bid to diversify the nation's economy.
President Buhari gave this assurance in his address at the Opening Ceremony of a 3-day National Summit on Culture and Tourism, with the theme, “Repositioning Culture and Tourism in a Diversified Economy”, held at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Maitama District, Abuja-FCT, Thursday, 28th April, 2016.
Speaking on the theme of the National Summit, the President thanked the organisers for choosing a theme that was not only apt but timely, considering his administration's efforts and resolve at diversifying the nation's economic base.
The address of the President, which was read by the Honourable Minister, Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, affirmed that, ''Tourism which brings individuals and human communities into contact has an important role to play in the diversification of any economy...; it also has the capacity to assist the world inhabitants to live better together and thereby contribute to peaceful co-existence between peoples and cultures.''
Buhari informed that since the middle of the 20th Century, the most remarkable trait has been the mobilization of culture and tourism as a preferred form of economic development at local, regional and national levels; adding that many governments have integrated tourism firmly into their economic development strategies in recognition of its potentials and as a response to particular moments.
Continuing, he emphasized the importance and urgent need to develop the nation's tourism potentials which could serve as an alternative source of revenue and employment, saying: “The combination of various factors such as the sharp drop in the price of oil, combined breakdown of protectionist policies and changes in social relations, countries are compelled to look for alternative sources of revenue and employment.”
According to him, “Tourism is a resource of development and means of providing an additional opportunity for a non-industrialised country like ours, to diversify its economic base for the betterment of all. Consequently, the road for us as a nation to achieve our set objectives of diversifying our economic base will depend partly upon the quality of design and implementation of tourism policies.”
Concluding, the President charged the Ministry in their deliberations and recommendations to focus on the need to make use of culture and tourism as instruments of social mobilisation for national revival; to re-orientate the mind-set of Nigerians towards national consciousness and patriotism as a means of realising positive change in the country; to effectively liaise with other relevant MDAs to work out appropriate programmes that would help fight the scourge of social vices brought about by the collapse of our value systems; and to redouble efforts and pay greater attention to mobilising and sensitizing our teaming youths to embrace the culture of respect and hard work.
The National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) was on hand to do a dance performance to entertain the numerous stakeholders in the culture and tourism sector, the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood), legislators, members of the diplomatic corps, the academia, theatre arts practitioners, managers of the hospitality industry, corporate private sector, and media professionals, among other dignitaries present at the opening ceremony.
Corporate Affairs Unit