The Federal Government, through its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), has begun exploiting the entertainment and creative industry to milk at least $1 billion by the end of 2020.
The target aligns with government’s policy which seeks to discourage over-dependence on oil earnings, especially with the entertainment and creative sectors reported to have contributed 2.3 percent, approximately N239 billion, to Nigeria’s GDP in 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, in pursuance of its diversification policy, has seized various forums to persuade Nigerians to embrace agriculture and the creative industry owing to their capacity for massive job creation.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, renewed this call at the weekend at the re-launch of the Dome, a first-class recreational and entertainment facility in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
According to Osinbajo, the Dome gave credence to government’s position that the non-oil sector was where Nigeria’s future lay.
He said gains recorded owing to deliberate policies on ease of doing business in Nigeria had accounted for favourable a rating in the World Bank global index report on doing business.
“Investment like the Dome, Abuja, is what Nigeria needs to push for a similar status with Dubai, which despite being an oil producing country makes only 20 percent revenue from oil,” he stated.
Chairman, the DOME entertainment centre, Obiora Okonkwo, noted that with the unemployment index expected to rise above 50 percent, including a soaring population figure projected to hit 200 million by 2019, venture capitalists like himself had taken it upon themselves to salvage the situation.
Okonkwo, however, insisted that the need for tax holidays could not be underscored if the private sector must assist government meet its objectives of better welfare for the citizens.
He said: “I use this opportunity to invite the government to partner the Dome in its social empowerment programme for youths.
“The Dome is well positioned to drive the policy and bring about the change we crave.
“Government must assist businesses such as ours to grow through generous tax breaks to enable us stabilise.”
The Dome, which now boasts over 300 staff, recently recapitalised its assets to expand it recreational outlets to include bowling alley, twin cafe, the paradisio, the Francis Hotel, among others.