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The federal government has called for closer collaboration with the United States in the area of ​​the creative and cultural industry.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who launched the call in Abuja yesterday, said the call was needed especially to improve the quality of Nollywood films.
Speaking when he received United States Assistant Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ms. Akunna Cook, Mohammed in a statement released by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of information and culture, Segun Adeyemi said, “It is of immediate importance to us in Nigeria at this time how we can continue to improve the quality of our films. As you know, Nollywood, as our film industry is known, is among the top three in the world.Yes, the quality of our films has gradually improved over the years, but we can still benefit from the rich experience of American Hollywood, the undisputed best in the world.
“In addition to improving the quality of our production through technical training and exchanges, we would also like to learn a few tricks in the field of animation.
Mohammed further said that the federal government is working hard to reposition the creative and cultural industry, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the sector’s immense contribution to the country’s GDP.
“The creative and cultural industry is a key sector of the Nigerian economy, contributing 17.3% to the country’s GDP in 2020 and, together with other seemingly unrelated sectors, providing between 10 and 15 million jobs. Indeed, the creative and cultural industry is the largest employer of labor after agriculture,” Mohammed also said.
The Minister revealed some significant interventions made by the Federal Government in the creative industry, including the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N22.9 Billion Creative Industry Funding Initiatives; the N1billion Bank of Industry Nollyfund; another N1billion Bank of Industry Fashion and Beauty Fund; N-Power Creative and Project Act Nollywood Federal Grant.
Mohammed added that the government is still exploring other avenues to give new impetus to the sector.
In her remarks, Ms. Cook said that during her three-day visit to Nigeria, she focused on developments in the creative industry and digital technology.
She said Nigeria’s creative industry has proven to be not only a driver of the economy, but a significant player in changing the world’s perception of Africa, especially Nigeria.
Cook commended the Nigerian government for the refurbishment of the National Theater in Lagos which she said will create an ecosystem and provide phenomenal opportunities for creative industry stakeholders.
She pledged that the US government was ready to work with Nigeria to boost the creative industry in the country.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; and USACE North Atlantic Division Commander, Brigadier General Thomas Tickner; visited Kainji Air Base to perform the groundbreaking for the final phase of the $38 million construction project for the A-29 Super Tucanos support facilities.
They were joined by Deputy Director of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, Ronald Taylor; and senior Nigerian Air Force officials.
A statement from the US Mission in Nigeria, made available to The TIDE IN Port Harcourt, said the construction site would be the location of several critical facilities, including sun visors to house the A-29 Super Tucanos, ammunition assembly and storage areas and an annex for the A-29 flight simulator.
The North Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) oversees the construction of this infrastructure necessary for the operation and maintenance of the A-29 Super Tucanos and the munitions that accompany them.
During the site visit, Leonard explained the significance of this first step, saying, “We are here today not only to celebrate a milestone in the construction of an air base, but a milestone in a partnership between our two countries.
“This monumental undertaking by the Nigerian Air Force through the A-29 Super Tucano program reflects the work ethic, ingenuity and dedication of the Nigerian people.”
In his remarks, Tickner echoed Leonard’s sentiment, saying, “We are proud to partner with the United States Embassy, ​​United States Air Force and Nigerian Air Force to provide support facilities for their new fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
“These projects are an excellent example of USACE’s unique ability to apply its engineering expertise in ways that build partner capacity, strengthen strategic relationships, and enhance Nigeria’s security capability.
“This construction project is part of the landmark US$500 million Foreign Military Sale to Nigeria, which also includes the delivery of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, world-class munitions and training.
“This is the largest U.S. foreign military sales deal to sub-Saharan Africa and demonstrates the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria.
“The United States is committed to assisting Nigeria in its efforts to create a more peaceful and prosperous nation,” he said.