By Lucky Isibor
The Federal Government Thursday explained why the Culture sector was recently granted pioneer status under the Industrial Development (income Tax Relief) Act N0 22 of 1971 cap 117 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (IDITRA), saying that any direct foreign investment or inflows that is up to N100,000,000 attracts an immediate tax rebate and holiday of three years.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the explanation in Benin City at this year’s Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) organised by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), with the theme: “Mainstreaming Culture in the Nation’s Economic Agenda”.
The Minister who spoke through a Director in the Ministry, Mr. Augustus Ajibola, said government decision will not only have a multiplier effect on the creative industries as a whole but also create new vistas of opportunities for employment and provide inspiration for unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians.
“Without any doubt, Culture is the lynchpin of the 17 sustainable development goals both individually and as a collective. Culture remains the basic and fundamental ingredient which forms a cross cutting denominator in all the 17 development goals. Today the giant strides we have made in the areas of film and music is so much so that we are recognized as the leading lights in those creative endeavours not only in Africa, but the world”, he said.
The Miinister while expressing satisfaction that all the objectives of the Rountable provide an all-inclusive inter-disciplinary bond that places premium on culture as a must for all developmental initiatives, reiterated the determination of the President Buhari-led government to reposition the Culture and Tourism sector to make it one of the key drivers of economic growth in Nigeria in consonance with global trend and the urgent need to combat poverty, growing unemployment and to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the country’s growing population.
He also expressed government’s commitment to promoting a robust public-private partnership, adding that government would continue to support the private sector and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to play a leading role in harnessing the vast potentials of the sector, just as it would on a continual basis upgrade the infrastructure and provide security which are key factors for the sector to flourish.
The Minister stressed government’s desire to reposition the economy through diversification from a mono-cultural economy in the face of dwindling revenue from oil.
Earlier, the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala, had explained that the decision of the agency to focus on culture and the economy was to draw national attention to the critical importance of culture to economic development and to fashion out strategies to significantly enhance the contribution of culture to Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and overall national development of Nigeria.