PLAYERS in the creative industry have called on the Nigerian government to get more involved in developing the arts sub-sector in Nigeria.
The call was made during a panel discussion at the 5th Annual Integrity Icon Summit organised by the Accountability Lab in Abuja on Thursday.
The panellists included resident artist at the Department of Arts and Culture, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Daniel Akpasop, and Visual Arts consultant Juliet Ezenwa.
There were also Executive Director of Art for Humanity Osaze Efe and the Convener of Art for Health Naij Chidera Aneke, who moderated the discussion.
During the discussion, Efe urged the Nigerian government to pay more attention to the arts, noting that there was not much funding for developing the creative sector in Nigeria.
He also pointed out that where government loans were made available, terms for accessing the fund were often stringent.
Efe further stated that the unemployment rate in Nigeria would reduce if funds were made available, and encouraged artists to attempt to effect change in the country through their works as arts was intrinsic to nation-building.
Agreeing with Efe, Ezenwa said funding had been a significant limitation to the development of arts in the country. She, however, noted that the gains from arts were usually not immediate and often unpredictable, making it difficult for loans to be approved for players in the industry.
“The kind of economic gains that come through the creative industry is not predictable, and so banks or accounting persons will not feel comfortable investing money in a skill or event that you cannot predict the outcome.
“Benefits to be gained often takes a long time. That has been a limitation for us in the creative arts,”
She, therefore, suggested more government involvement in other ways such as supporting events organised by creative artists.
“I think if the government really wants to invest in the creative industry, they can go through the organisations, the associations. One thing they can do is support the events that they organise. Whether privately or as a group, they can give us some kind of support, some kind of grant,” she said.
Akpasop said the government sometimes provided funding for artists but would not actively participate in artistic activities.
He also noted that the Ministry for Arts and Culture had been divided into several other ministries, shifting the government’s focus from the arts.
The panellists noted that arts had allowed the youth to advocate for integrity and good governance through their works and encouraged young artists to take advantage of the situation.