By Maureen Okon
Abuja – Dr Sam Nda-Isaiah, Publisher Leadership Group of Newspaper, has urged government at all levels to develop the arts and craft sector as a source of foreign exchange earner for the country.
He said this at the opening of the 11th International Arts and Crafts Expo on Monday in Abuja organised by the National Council for Arts and Crafts (NCAC), with the theme: `Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World.’’
Nda-Isaiah, who Chaired the event said that Nigerian Arts and Crafts remains the country’s `best kept secret.’
“But it is about time for our governments at all levels to know that this is a sector that can set the country afire if well organised and harnessed.
Nda-Isaiah, also added that, the country’s arts and crafts sector should be develop along those lines and it would very easily become a major source of foreign exchange for the country.
He commended that artists and curators for being super creative and resourceful as displayed in the quality of their crafts.
“It is the same spirit that has made Nollywood, Kannywood and our indigenous music global success.
“The few expatriate in the arts and crafts business who know this have kept the knowledge to themselves; sneaking into the country from time to time trading in these invaluable goods and subsequently smiling to their thanks.
He however commended the present administration for its efforts in the agriculture and mining sectors, saying: “the current government has succeeded substantially in the agriculture sector and the mining sector is picking up.’’
Also, Otunba Runsewe, Director General of NCAC said that the expo was a platform for craft men and women across the continent to showcase their arts and crafts products.
“Also to exchange ideas, skills and network for investment that will stimulate rapid socio-economic growth and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.’’
Similarly, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said that the creative industry was a strategic sector to boost competitiveness, productivity, employment and sustainable economic growth.
‘Nigerian artists have leveraged on our rich and diverse culture to create both tangible and intangible art content for socio-economic empowerment,’’ Mohammed said.
The Minister was represented by Mrs Grace Gekpe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry (NAN).