Diversification: Nigeria’s Culture Chief, Runsewe Takes Charge

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By Justina Okpanku                                                                                                                                                                                      The Director General, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe has said the diversification of the nation’s economy from oil is long overdue. He gave a roadmap on how to position the art and tourism sector to begin to shift the narrative towards something that is positive. He wants cultures to play a pivotal role in the non-oil sector in the quest to diversify the nation’s economy for the future.                                                  ” Oil is exhaustive. Our culture is our pride,” he said.                                 Runsewe who is also the
President, World Craft Council (WCC), Africa Region, expressed this view in Lagos during an interactive session for stakeholders in Arts, Culture and Tourism sector, recently.
He said:” This meeting is to exchange views, opinions, knowledge and experiences on how this very important sector can be strengthened as a vehicle for creating wealth and driving sustainable economic development of Nigeria.
“In the wake of the current economic realities and with the breakdown of the Covid-19 pandemic globally, nations of the world are exploring various means of growing their economy. With the rich and diverse cultural resources of Nigeria and given the abundant tourism resources, it stands to reason that if we must diversify our economy, we have to look outside crude oil which is the current major foreign exchange earner, and focus on Arts, Culture and Tourism as one of the key players in our economic development, ” he said. While unveiling his plans captioned “Beyond the Oil. Economic: The Diversification Option for Nigeria” he also stressed that Nigeria cannot continue to depend on oil.
The near total dependence on crude oil exportation as the source of our foreign exchange earnings, he said, has greatly slowed down the pace of development in other sub-sectors of the economy such as Agro-Allied Industry, Manufacturing, Solid Minerals, and the service industry.
The progressive fall in the prices of petroleum products and its attendant shock on the economy of Nigeria has made it highly imperative for Nigeria to pursue a sustained process of economic diversification, if we must attain the much needed economic stability and development. He said that it is now clear to all that Nigeria can no longer continue to depend solely on crude oil exportation.
Runsewe said the tourism industry is a critical economic subsector, for example. Tourism, he said, is a remarkable economic and social phenomenon of the 21st century service-led industry. Quoting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, he said earnings from international tourism is expected to increase from about USD 477 billion in 2000 to about USD 2.0 trillion in 2020. He said already some destinations like Dubai, United Arab Emirates are making the most of the tourist receipts and arrivals which has given boost to its economy. On the shinning Dubai example, he said:” Dubai was a remote and obscure desert, but the oil-rich emirate is now transformed into a vibrant, modern business destination. The lesson for Nigeria, he said is, ” the oil wealth should be strategically be deployed to develop other sectors of the nation’s economy, especially arts, culture and tourism as Dubai did some years ago.” He maintained that Nigeria like Dubai can be successful if they do the needful, saying that it is important the African nation has huge human and natural resources. Nigeria has comparative advantage in areas such as cultural tourism, ecotourism, indigenous cuisine and religious tourism. The culture chief noted that Nigeria film industry is one of the fastest growing in Africa. ” It is the third most popular in the world coming after US Hollywood and Bollywood of India. It is noteworthy that Nigeria music is about the most popular in the world, from Fela’s afro beat, Sunny Ade to Burna Boy band Wizkid,” he said. Contact us: just_tours@yahoo.com

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