Stakeholders urge FG to give priority to culture, tourism sector

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Abuja  –  Stakeholders in the Culture and Tourism sector have urged the Federal Government to give priority to the sector to make it more viable and attractive to investors.
They spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Friday in Abuja.
They also expressed concern over the merging of the Culture Ministry with that of Information, adding that the latter would `suffer’.
The stakeholders suggested the appointment of a Minister of State for Information and Culture to concentrate on the vast areas of culture and tourism to bring about rapid development of the sectors.
Mr Tomi Akingbogun, who is the President of Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), said that the nomenclature attached to the ministry was not proper.
“The ministry should have been referred to as Ministry of Information and Tourism, not Culture because culture is a part of tourism.
“It will benefit the sector more if a Minister of State for Information and Culture is appointed to man the tourism and cultural aspect of the ministry.
“Tourism and Culture is very vast and dynamic, it requires 100 per cent commitment; one minister for information and culture will slow down the developmental process of the tourism sector, ’’ Akingbogun said.
Aliyu Badak, the President of Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN) corroborated the views of Akingbogun.
Badaki said that there was an urgent need to have a Minister of State for Information and Culture.
“Though, Mr Lai Mohammed could manage information and culture, but tourism and culture need expertise and commitment to reach the desire promise land.
“It is very necessary to have a Minister of State for Information and Tourism to take care of the tourism and culture sector for proper development,’’ he said.
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Also, Mr Mazzi Chuzzy, the Executive Secretary, Culture and Tourism Youth International (CULTOUR) said that the
association was presently canvassing for the government to have a Minister of State for Tourism and Culture.
“We within the tourism industry are pushing for that; tourism is a big industry which cannot be compared to any other industry in the country, it is bigger than oil.
“But unfortunately we do not recognise that in Nigeria; however, we are pushing for a Minister of State for Tourism.
“If that is put in place, the minister will concentrate fully on tourism and culture, because where there is no oil; tourism can feed Nigerians,’’ he stressed.
Similarly, Dr Paul Dike, a former Director-General of the National Gallery of Arts said that it was necessary to have a Minister of State for Culture.
“The truth is that minister doesn’t normally pay attention to cultural segment of the ministry.
“Even when the minister shows interest in culture; they are only concern of children dancing on occasions; most minister don’t know anything about the country’s monument and heritage.
“Culture and tourism is so diverse that a minister may not be able to achieve more, therefore I think it is better to have a Minister of State for Information and Culture,’’ he said.

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However, Chief Margaret Fabiyi, the President of Webisco Internatonal Federation of Women Entrepreneur and Tourism in Nigeria, said that having a Minister of State for Tourism and Culture was not necessary.
She explained that the most important element in moving the tourism sector forward “is absolute commitment from the Minister of Information and Culture.
“The minister should be able to appoint experts to man the tourism related agencies and parastatals.
“Any project that is approved by the government should be made public and budgeted fund for such projects should be monitored, tracked, and ensure it was used for the intended purpose,’’
“For example, my tourism project was approved by the last administration, but when it got to National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), it was blocked,’’ she said. (NAN)

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