The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said in Uyo at the weekend that “the only sector that is recession-proof is the creative industry.”
The minister stated this at the closing of the 2016 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) hosted by Akwa Ibom with the theme: “Exploring the Goldmine Inherent in Nigerian Creative Industries.”
Represented by Mrs Dayo Keshi, the Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture, the minister said the successful hosting of the festival at a period of recession attested to his assertion.
“As a matter of fact and this is true all over the world, the creative sector continues to thrive even when the economy is not at its best.
“There is no bigger validation of the role that the creative sector can play in any economy.
“The fact that the festival was able to hold, successfully, despite the recession which we are experiencing at the moment, is a major achievement”, he said.
The minister said NAFEST 2016, the 29th edition of the festival, had lived up to its original concept of uniting the nation.
He noted that bringing people together from many states across the federation for many days in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity was a strong statement of unity and respect for one another’s difference.
The minister said the theme of the festival was carefully chosen to explore the ways in which culture can contribute to economic empowerment and national development.
He called on producers of cultural products and services to work towards attaining the standard of modern practice in their packaging to enable them to compete favourably at the global market.
The minister also reiterated his call on the private sector to step up efforts towards exploring investment opportunities in this creative sector.
He commended the government and people of Akwa Ibom for the peaceful atmosphere and their hospitality.
“The standard achieved at NAFEST 2016, coupled with the facilities provided and the peaceful atmosphere in which the events were held, has made this edition one of the most successful and unique in the history of the festival”, he said.
Mohammed also commended all participants for their “collective spirit, zeal, efforts, initiatives and the display of creative excellence.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that contingents from 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory participated in the festival.
Bayelsa emerged the overall winner with the host Akwa Ibom, the FCT and Lagos emerging as second, third and fourth respectively.