Was Nigeria’s Creative Economy only worth $1969 in 2016?

Image courtesy of Nigerianeye.com

The internally generated revenue (IGR) from tourism and culture is cause for grave concern. Last year the ministry only generated N620,000. This is a pittance.

On Tuesday 14th February, The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide complained that the focus of the sector is always on expenses. He queried the sum of N60,000,000 to buy land in Lagos, Adamawa and Edo for the establishment of cultural industries. Minister of Information and culture defended himself by saying ‘the budget wasn’t properly implemented due to inadequate appropriation and delay in the release of funds, cumbersome nature of procurement process, and the challenge of partial release of appropriated amount.’ Mohammed further went on to say that there is ‘lack of political will to develop the sector and absence of convention bureau to attract big-time events to Nigeria as a tourism destination,”

Where to begin? There is no doubt that there were issues with the budget in 2016 and difficulties in the release of funds for all ministries. However I am curious as to how much money was released in 2016.

What initiatives and programs were invested in?

N620,000 is far too low from a sector that encompasses art, music, film etc Is the Honourable minister investing in the right initiatives?

It is concerning that the Minister is complaining about the ‘lack of political will’ isn’t it his job to make the sector relevant to his stakeholders?

N620,000 is not good enough nor is it reflective of the industry that hundreds of thousands of Nigerians rely upon. Lai Mohammed needs to engage his stakeholders in music, film etc to ask about low cost methods to create an enabling environment for creatives. The government needs to ask themselves, how can we generate more commercial successes like The Wedding Party? Is it through education? Should we support local initiatives, festivals etc? Should we subsidise equipment rental for filmmakers? Should we subsidise international tours for musicians? There is so much that can be done through collaboration. We sincerely hope Lai Mohammed does not repeat 2016, simply because, in 2017 there is no need to.

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