Shettima promises more inclusive, prosperous future for creative economy

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday restated the resolve of the Tinubu administration to ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for the country’s creative economy.

According to him, the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government is poised to increase the voices of Nigeria’s creative minds, empower the nation’s best talents, and harness the unconstrained potential within the country’s ” diverse cultural tapestry”.

The Vice President gave the assurance while addressing key players and stakeholders in the nation’s creative and entertainment industry during the Art, Culture, and Creative Economy Roundtable – A Creative Industry Intervention – organized by the Ministry of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Hinging his speech on ‘Nigeria’s Creative Roadmap to the Future’, Sen. Shettima said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this roundtable is an avenue for us to deliberate and recommit ourselves to fostering an environment that nurtures creativity, innovation, and inclusivity. More than ever, we see the need to amplify the voices of our creative minds, empower our best talents, and harness the unbridled potential that lies within the folds of Nigeria’s diverse cultural tapestry.

“This round-table discussion isn’t just for us to chart a course that celebrates our past achievements. It’s for us to pave the way for an even brighter, more inclusive, and prosperous future for Nigeria’s creative economy. For it is through such synergy that we shall continue to ascend to greater heights and cement Nigeria’s rightful place as the unrivalled creative powerhouse of Africa”.

The VP told the industry’s stakeholders and key players that the Tinubu administration is set to make real its promise to turn the Nigerian creative industry into a critical segment of the global economy.

Describing Tinubu as the architect of Nigeria’s entertainment industry, Vice President Shettima said it is for this reason they refer to the President as ‘City Boy’.

He stated: “Thankfully, your President is the architect of the nation’s entertainment hub, and there’s a reason your industry refers to him as “City Boy.” President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not only cosmopolitan, a man of arts and culture in tune with the realities of your industry, but he has also acknowledged your industry as a critical segment of the global economy.

“So, we are here to make true our promise to you and let you know that the time has come for your industry to be at the negotiation table in Abuja.”

VP Shettima also tendered a passionate apology to members of the creative and entertainment sector over neglect by past administrations, which he said left them with no option but to build the industry with minimal support from the government.

Accordingly, he reiterated the firm resolve of the Tinubu administration to maximize the potential of the nation’s creative economy.

His words: “The gathering of stars in this room today, each unique in its stardom, is a testament to why Nigeria stands as the envy of the creative universe. Our citizens haven’t merely entered the stage of arts, entertainment, and creativity; their brilliance has become a beacon of inspiration and admiration worldwide.

“I want to express our gratitude for the illumination they have cast upon the world, the delight they have infused into it, and, undoubtedly, the economic prosperity and employment they have brought to the thriving galaxy of their profession.

“The industries that have produced the stars in this room are products of sustained sacrifices. Young and old, the ferocity with which our talents have shone within and outside the shores of the country is a template for each sector in the country, and I confess to being utterly impressed.

“What is even more astonishing is that they built their collections of empires with minimal support from the government. This is why we are here. We are here to apologise to you and to form a synergy to maximize the potential of the fast-evolving creative economy, of which you are our shiniest pillars.”

Regretting that despite the creativity shown by Nigerian artists the country’s image had been tainted by the criminal activities of those he described as “misguided few”, the Vice President however thanked members of the creative industry for remaining a beacon of light and hope for Nigeria.

He continued: “I don’t know what would’ve become of Nigeria’s image without you. You are the reason we walk with our shoulders still high from Atlanta to Zurich. Your dedication, your innovation, and your tireless commitment to shaping a narrative rooted in truth, integrity, and artistic brilliance have been the bedrock upon which our creative industries stand tall.

“It is through your talents that we refute the caricatured image and unveil the true essence of Nigeria’s creative might. So, on behalf of the Nigerian government, allow me to extend our profound gratitude.”

Earlier, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President (Office of the Vice President), Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia said the initiative by the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, was part of the Tinubu administration’s efforts to build and nurture a viable working relationship between the public and private sectors in the creative industry.

He noted that the whole idea was to strengthen Nigeria’s position as the global centre for arts, culture and creativity, leveraging available resources within and outside the country to achieve set objectives.

On her part, the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hajiya Hannatu Musawa, gave an overview of the Ministry’s vision and agenda for the creative sector, which is partly encapsulated in the ‘Destination 2023, Nigeria Everywhere’ initiative – a soft power programme to showcase Nigeria’s abundant talents in the creative sector.

According to the minister, the plan is to firmly establish Nigeria as the leading global hub for arts, culture and creativity, noting that “with this initiative, we are going to change the narrative about Nigeria globally.”

She added that by leveraging legislative, regulatory and intellectual property reforms, the country can witness a significant increase in the creative sector’s contributions to the GDP within a short period.

On private sector engagements, the Minister said in recognition of the importance of the private sector, “we are shifting our programme from focusing on just financing to comprehensive ecosystem support.”

On his part, the Managing Director of Providus Bank, Mr Walter Akpani, congratulated the Vice President for supporting the birthing of the initiative and other planned interventions in the creative sector, noting that it would positively impact the economy and image of Nigeria globally.

Dignitaries at the event included the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong and Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu. The Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Charles Odii and representatives of partners in the project comprising, the CEO of Prembly, Mr Lanre Ogunbe and Managing Director of Leadway Pensure, Mr Lanre Idris, among others.

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