Abuja – Mrs Nkechi Ejele, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, has urged cooperate organisations and individuals to partner the ministry to boost the tourism sector.
Ejele made the call on Thursday in Abuja while declaring open the International Arts and Craft Fair as part of activities to mark 40th anniversary of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
She said that with a population of about 170 million, Nigeria was a fertile market for any quality product.
She said that the Federal Government was determined to support the arts and crafts industry towards developing capacity to undertake supply of large volume and high standard products.
According to her, such products can effectively dominate the domestic market while excelling in the global market.
“We encourage private individuals and corporate bodies to partner the Ministry and NCAC in our efforts at economic diversification that is sure to empower the rural population and enhance socio-Economic development of our country,” Ejele said.
She noted that the anniversary celebration, which had drawn participants from Africa and beyond, highlighted the economic opportunities available in the creative industry.
“Its potentials should be harnessed towards arresting youth restiveness, rural-urban drift as well as reduce poverty,’’ she said.
She pointed out that the event provided platform for craftsmen and women in Africa and beyond to make contacts, interact, showcase and market their products.
Ejele added that it would also enable participants to share ideas, concepts and experiences that would forge international cooperation and understanding.
Commending NCAC on the event, she called for collaboration among participants from West Africa to boost the industry.
She expressed satisfaction with the spirit of creativity and enterprise of the participating crafts women and men from various states and local government areas, especially private sector participants.
Earlier in her address, Mrs Dayo Keshi, Director-General of NCAC, said that the occasion was to showcase the nation’s artistry, craftsmanship and entrepreneurial skills in the culture industry.
Keshi said the showcasing of the nation’s culture was with a view to unveiling the investment opportunities and economic potentials that abound in the tourism sector.
“It is for this reason that NCAC has embarked on this proactive programme geared towards contributing to the efforts of this administration in its quest to look inward towards developing the non-oil sector of the economy.
“Beyond the immediate, the fair will also promote import and export of African arts and crafts world-wide, sensitise investors as well as attract public-private partnership to the industry,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 15 countries as well as corporate bodies, government agencies and parastatals in the tourism industry are participating in the fair. (NAN)