Friday, 18 December 2015

Minister of Information and Culture Unveils FG Plans To Diversify Economy

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has unveiled plans by the Federal Government to diversify the country’s economy.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja, on Friday, December 18, by the Special Assistant to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, a copy obtained by

Mohammed, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, at a workshop on ‘Mainstreaming Tourism into the Economic Agenda of Government’ in Abuja, on Thursday, highlighted the commitment of the present administration towards exploiting the full potentials of the tourism sector as part of the efforts to diversify the economy.

The Minister explained that the oil revenue could no longer provide resources to meet the growing and competing demands of the nation, therefore there is a need to explore tourism as catalyst for economic growth and job creation.

“The experience of the past three decades clearly highlights the shortcomings of a development strategy that places premium on foreign exchange earnings from non-renewable natural resources, especially oil and solid minerals

“The economic and social dislocation that has been the country’s experience from the 1970s right from the first decade of the country had its origin in the collapse of the international oil market. Our experience in the recent past also clearly demonstrates that oil and mineral resources are non-renewable and have very limited potentials for addressing the development challenges that face the country today over the medium and long-term period,” he said.

The Minister further expressed optimism that the nation’s diverse and unique cultural heritage, the flora and fauna as well as the historical sites that abound in the country are capable of driving tourism to create a sustainable economy that provides jobs and income for the nation.

“The uniqueness of tourism as an important economic sector is evident in its ability to employ the skilled, semi-skilled and the unskilled manpower, while its resilience is proven by the fact that despite wars, political turmoil, natural disasters, medical scares, terrorists attacks and economic and energy crises in various parts of the world, international trade in tourism services has grown spectacularly since the 1980s.

“Today, as the nation grapples with the daunting challenges of re-strategizing the gains of our democracy and also occupying its pride of place in the comity of nations, tourism has been identified as a veritable option for sustainable development,” the Minister said.

Mohammed, who was the immediate past spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) restated the federal government’s determination to create a more conducive environment for tourism to thrive in.

He also listed the areas that needed improvement to include infrastructural development, curbing youth restiveness, which he said scares away tourists, enactment of a sustainable institutional framework for Public-Private Partnership and the establishment of a national carrier to fly the nation’s flag.

Mohammed also promoted the establishment of a Tourism Development Fund to serve as an incentive to encourage private sector participation in tourism development.

Just few days ago, following the alleged slow pace the economy is picking up under the new administration, Ekiti state Governor Ayodele Fayose has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resign if he cannot solve the economic hardship in the country, and reminded the president of the three million jobs he promised to create annually during the campaign.