Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Minister of Information and Cultures, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says that the Regatta Cultural Festival of Yauri Emirate in Kebbi State has the capacity to create jobs for millions of young people in the country.
Mohammed, who stated this on Saturday during the ceremony of the festival in Yauri, said the Federal Government will integrate the Regatta into the festival calendar to allow tourists across the world attend the fiesta.
The Minister, who restated the commitment of the Federal Government to diversify the Nigerian economy, said the government would continue to support all the sectors of the economy to ensure the country attains its full potential.
“Coming here today is a mark of the Federal Government’s determination to leverage on the country’s creative industry, which includes movies, theatre, music, fashion, festivals and tourism, to diversify the economy and provide jobs for millions of our teeming youths.
“The creative industry is Nigeria’s new oil and, if well harnessed, has the capacity to help drastically reduce the country’s unemployment challenges and make a success of the Buhari Administration’s economic diversification policy.
“The creative industry currently employs 1 million people, mostly youths. It has the capacity to employ millions more. Well packaged and well-marketed, our festivals, which showcase the rich culture of our people, from North to South and East to West, can contribute immensely to the nation’s economic and social development. This explains why we at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture have made it our policy to support our festivals by not only attending them but by also helping to raise their profile through massive publicity.”
He added: “We are also in the final stage of publishing a Calendar of National Festivals that will contain the various festivals in the country and the dates on which they are held annually. The essence of this is for tourists, both domestic and international, to be aware so they can plan their attendance ahead. I have no doubt that when the Calendar is finally unveiled, the Yauri Regatta Festival will occupy a pride of place in it.
“We have also started training festival managers across the country so they can be able to better organise and package festivals to attract the highest number of tourists and maximise their potentials. As we all know, these festivals have gone beyond mere entertainments to events that can attract massive financial inflows into their immediate vicinity, the state in which they are located and indeed the entire country. As we continue the training of festival managers, Yauri will definitely be one of the beneficiaries.”