Gentlemen of the press, good morning.
2. I have called this press conference to formally announce the forthcoming Creative Industry Financing Conference, which is being organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in conjunction with the Think Tank Media.
3. The main objective of the conference, which will hold 17-18 July (that is next Monday and Tuesday) at the Eko Hotel, is to take the industry into a golden era of smooth access to short and long term financing, world class management as well as local and international distribution.
4. We conceived this conference because of our realization that lack of access to financing is stunting the growth of the Creative Industry. It is the latest in a series of conferences and other events that we have held since assuming office. Recall that we held the landmark National Summit on Culture and Tourism last year to chart the path for the industry. Most of its recommendations are already being implemented. Also, only this Monday, we held a Roundtable on the Creative Industry here in Lagos. Recall also that we have signed a number of MoUs, with the Bank of Industry, Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council, all for the sole purpose of boosting the Creative Industry.
5. As you are undoubtedly aware, this Administration attaches a whole lot of importance to the Creative Industry. This is in line with its cardinal programme of diversifying the economy away from oil. Other sectors being developed into pillars of the economy include the Creative Industry, Agriculture and Solid Minerals. There is no better demonstration of the high priority given to the Creative Industry than the fact that the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, himself will declare open the Creative Industry Financing Conference.
6. The programme of the conference is very rich. Such topics as ”Government’s Role in Funding Creative Industry’, ‘The Bank of Industry Experience’, ‘Fundamentals of financing film, Television and Music Production’, as well as ‘Film, Television and Digital Distribution’ will be tackled by global experts from within and outside Nigeria. Our neighbour, Niger Republic, has also indicated its willingness to attend the event, having shown a growing interest in our efforts to grow the Creative Industry. We expect a large turnout of industry stakeholders at the forthcoming conference, just like we had a full house at the Creative Industry Roundtable on Monday.
7. Let me reiterate what I said at the Roundtable, that the overall essence of all our efforts is to transform the Creative Industry to a Creative Economy. We also believe that this transformation must be driven by the private sector, with the government providing the enabling environment.
8. To those who may still be wondering, what is in the Creative Industry? My answer is that it is Nigeria’s new oil. Other countries have also taken advantage of the industry to grow their economy. The Creative industry contributed 84.1 billion Pounds Sterling to the British economy in 2014. It also contributed 698 billion dollars to the US Economy, according to a 2015 report. Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind, hence we are ready to explore and exploit the new oil.
9. Gentlemen of the press, let me stop here. I will now take your questions. Thank you.