Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday said it was exploring ways, including financial models, to help the media industry fulfil its functions during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
According to him, the media and creative industries are some of the sectors of the economy most affected by the pandemic, noting that government was not oblivious of those facts hence the plans to revive the fourth estate the realm post-COVID-19.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that the creative industry, who comprises the media is the most badly affected in the COVID-19 pandemic and that we are already working towards alleviating the challenges. I have been in contact with the leadership of newspapers to get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspapers and the entire media industry.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), a stakeholder committee held in Lagos on the creative industry and we are almost about getting ready the list of special stakeholders committee that will address the issue of the post-COVID-19 creative industry. As soon as we get the terms of reference, we would announce the membership and the terms of reference,” Mohammed said.
-Honorable Minister of Information & Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed
— Fed Min of Info & Cu (@FMICNigeria) April 30, 2020
The minister said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside creative industry financing to ensure the industry resurrected post-COVID-19.
He said that “sometimes in 2018, I led a team of the creative industry stakeholders to meet the Central Bank on how to provide finance for the industry. The CBN creative industry financing initiative was as a result of that effort. What we need to do is leverage this particular fund made available by the central bank to revive the industry.”
He also said that the digital switchover in broadcasting would be a panacea to the creative industry as it was capable of creating thousands of jobs in the country.
“I am not under any illusion that it is not going to be very easy, but if we work with stakeholders, we will be able to achieve results,” he said.
Mohammed also said engagements are ongoing with various sectors of the media and that the broadcasting organisation will be meeting with his ministry to explore ways of helping the broadcast industry which we will all agree is one of the biggest victims of this pandemic.
He said: “We’ve started engaging the various sectors of the media. As a matter of fact, the broadcaster organisations will be meeting with my ministry either on Tuesday or Wednesday so we can explore ways of helping the broadcast industry which we all agree is the biggest victim of this pandemic. I have always been in contact with the leadership of newspapers and we intend to also ramp up the meeting with them so we can get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspaper and the entire media industry.
“I also received calls from the leadership of the hoteliers who complained that all the hotels are shut, and there is no business. We are meeting with all these groups.”