The just concluded All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) 2017 is set to mark a turning point for entertainment in Nigeria as the Federal Government says it will provide the needed facilities for the entertainment industry to thrive in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this in an interview with the Newsmen on the sideline of the 4th All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) 2017 in Lagos.
He said that the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, would continue to support the entertainment industry by providing infrastructural facilities.
On the significance of the AFRIMA to Nigeria’s economy and entertainment industry, Mohammed said that in order to encourage the entertainment industry, the government would partner with private investors to invest more in the entertainment facilities.
“The entertainment industry is overwhelming in the world right now and in Nigeria, we need to do more in providing right atmosphere which is infrastructural facilities for the industry.
“We are not just talking about power sector or water, we are talking about entertainment. We need to be on purpose, build halls that will encourage our artists and musicians.
“We are talking about domestic tourism, domestic market where we can really expose our artists, so this will not only be about government but also private sector to provide the infrastructure.
“On the part of government, we will encourage more private sector and philanthropists all over the world because it is not something we leave to government alone,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that hosting of event such as AFRIMA was another way of generating income for the government because of the tourism factor which could bring more earnings.
“Nigeria is having this event now, AFRIMA 2017, and we are talking about bringing another way of improving our economy through other income.
“We must not forget that Nigeria hosted same award last year and we have to make another positive request for this year so that it can remain in Nigeria.
“We thank the African Union (AU) for this opportunity for accepting Nigeria, to host it again this year. We are also grateful to Lagos State government for the support of this award.
“The positive thing about the award is that we have been able to move the music industry from the back corner to the front burner,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that the concentration would not be placed only on agriculture or oil and gas, but also on creative industry as a means of diversifying the economy.
“This means when we are talking about economy, we are not just talking about agriculture, solid mineral or construction but actually more in the creative industry.
“Nigeria already has a very high advantage, and we can see that recently with the awards Nigerian are getting in the industry and most recent of the Wizkid award in U.K. “This shows the kind of influence we can have in the creative industry which can be positive to our economy,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the minister was the Special Guest of Honour at the Awards Ceremony.