The Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tourism and Culture yesterday cautioned the Federal Government not to sell the National Theatre situated in Iganmu, Lagos state.
The chairman of the House committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, made this known during an interactive session between his committee and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the National Assembly complex Abuja.
The Edo lawmaker insisted that the position was in the best interest of Nigerians and promised to wade into the crises between the Artistic Director of the monument and his personnel should the minister fail to resolve it.
Ogbeide-Ihama expressed concern over the neglect of the culture and toursim sector adding that it was incumbent on the authorities to invest heavily in the sector in the quest to diversify the nation’s economy.
He argued that the culture and tourism sector could easily provide the enabling environment for skill acquisition and employment opportunities for the teeming population of youths and ensuring a boost in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
Ogbeide-Ihama believed that the spate of clashes amongst ethnic groups in the country would be drastically curtailed if Nigerians are availed the opportunities to appreciate the festivals, carnivals and cultural practices that abound in the country.
Ogbeide-Ihama who urged the Minister to prevail on the federal executive council (FEC) to dedicate funds for the development of the sector assured that he would reciprocate the gesture by pushing for adequate budgetary approval for the sector.
The Minister who presented his Ministry’s 2018 budgetary proposal worth N2. 6 billion for the approval of the lawmakers remarked that he had been able to provide the enabling environment for the culture and tourism sector to thrive.
He cited the five years tax incentive put in place for those that invest N100 billion in the creative industry which comprise the film and music industry as an instance of government intervention.
Saying that the creative industry contributes 1.6 percent to the GDP, he explained that the decision by an Indian firm which is presently negotiating with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to build fifty cinemas across the country was aimed at achieving the objective.