Reps rejects sale of national theatre

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has reiterated the opposition of the National Assembly to the sale of the National Theatre situated in Iganmu, Lagos State.

Chairman of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Mr. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, stated this during an interactive session between his Committee and the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, at the National Assembly complex, Abuja on Thursday.

Ogbeide-Ihama, who maintained that the position of the legislature on the proposed sale was in the best interest of Nigerians, expressed concern over the neglect of the Culture and Tourism sector, adding that authorities must invest heavily in the industry in order to diversify the nation’s economy.

Additionally, the lawmaker argued that the sector could easily provide an enabling environment for skill-acquisition as well as employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths, ensuring a boost in the GDP of the country.

He further acknowledged the efforts of the Minister in holding Town Hall Meetings across the country, while insisting that the government needs to increase funding for the Ministry to enable it perform better.

Mr. Ogbeide-Ihama also urged the Minister to ask the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to dedicate monies for the development of the tourism sector, assuring that he would reciprocate the gesture by pushing for adequate budgetary approvals to boost the sector.

The Minister, who presented his Ministry’s 2018 budgetary proposal worth N2.6 billion for the approval of the lawmakers, remarked that he had been able to provide the enabling environment for the Culture and Tourism sector to thrive.

He cited the five-year tax incentive put in place for those that invest N100 billion in the creative industry, which includes the film and music industry, as an instance of government intervention.

Finally, the Chairman ended his speech by saying that the creative industry contributes 1.6 percent to the GDP, while noting an Indian firm that is currently negotiating with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to build fifty cinemas across the country.

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