Mr Etete Inemeh, the Senior Special Adviser on Culture to the Speaker, House of Representatives, says arts and crafts can increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings and also create employment.
Inemeh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that arts and culture enhances quality of life, and were also important complement to national and community development.
He urged state governors to look inward and invest in arts that were peculiar to their states in order to use the earnings to cushion the effect of the present economic recession on the people of their state.
“Arts and culture and related industries are important to the country, state and community as they provide direct economic benefits, create jobs and attract investments.
“Arts and cultural activities can draw crowds from within and around the community, increase the number of visitors as well as enhance resident partaking which helps to build their financial status.
“The recognition of a country or community’s arts and culture assets and effective marketing of them is an important element of economic development.
“Community assets can attract a strong workforce and successful firms, as well as help sustain a positive quality of life for the residents of the host community.
“These industries also provide range of other benefits, such as, generation of tax revenues, and encouragement of local economies through tourism and consumer purchases,’’ Inemeh said.
He explained how he had been able to encourage his people to acquire vocational skills when oil was booming, with the foresight that when the boom was gone; people would have something to fall back to.
“While we were still enjoying oil boom, I have always advocated for people to be involved in skills learning and acquiring necessary skills of creativity, skills that are relative to our respective regions.
“We encouraged the construction of raffia arts and skills acquisition centre in 2011 through the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“We also encouraged the construction of various youth development centres for leadership training and learning in Obot Akara, Akwa Ibom State.
“This institute is to teach the young ones how to imbibe leadership qualities and practices, creative intelligence, and creative minds of the younger generation will be impacted there.
“Many of our cultural heritages which are rich in contents are yet to be tapped.
“We also initiated the construction of a museum of `Anag’ culture and heritage, the museum will ensure that most of our cultural artifacts, knowledge and heritage are documented and displayed.
“Every society has a relative and localised ways of doing things, respecting beauty, arts and culture; it should be harnessed for the benefit of the all.’’
According to him, we did all these with the view of contributing; redirecting our people towards preparing for the intended Cultural Revolution which we know will increase the foreign exchange income of the country.
NAN reports that Inemeh is also the Managing Director of TNY Gallery and African Cultural Heritage Centre, Abuja.