The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged Jigawa State Government to give incentives to creative and tourism investors to explore the rich cultural potential of the state.
The minister made the call in Dutse at a Gala night hosted in his honour by Governor BadaruAbubakar to mark the end of the 9th National Council on Tourism, Culture and National Orientation held in the state.
The 9th edition of the Council with the theme, ” Tourism and Culture as Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Recovery’’ was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and hosted by Jigawa State Government.
Mohammed, who commended the giant strides recorded in agriculture by the state government through its goat rearing and cluster farming schemes, said similar programmes should be replicated in the tourism sector.
He added that “we all know that Jigawa is one of the foremost agricultural states in the country with the very successful experiment of the governor in the goat rearing scheme.
“Jigawa is also leading in cluster farming, a concept of getting many farmers as possible in one place and the government providing them with farm input, fertiliser and encouraging them to grow more food.
“The farmers are also assured that they can pay back not only in cash but in kind. I want the state government to extend the same courtesy and support to the Creative Industry, particularly the culture and tourism sector.
“I want the state to emulate the Federal Government by giving out incentives in terms of tax rebate, tax holiday and others to encourage film producers to come and set up film villages in the state
“This is because Jigawa State has very fantastic scenery and tourism sites which will be ideal to shoot film of any genre.”
The minister also urged the state to get involved in capacity training for artists and make available small scale loans for artisans who were talented in arts and crafts.
He said the efforts would provide another avenue for revenue for the state in addition to employing as many youths as possible.
He added that the IT hub infrastructure in the state which the governor was planning to expand would further encourage youths in the state to unload their talents.
He commended the governor and the people of Jigawa for maintaining peace, tranquility and stability which he said were the keys to economic growth.
He also thanked the government and the people for successful hosting of the event and the honour bestowed on him by the governor and the Dutse Emirate.
“I thank you for organising this Gala night in my honour. Just yesterday, the Emir also organised a mini Durbar in my honour. I remain gratified and indebted to the governor, the government and people of Jigawa.
“I want to assure you that we are leaving the state with very fond memories and will not hesitate to come back as soon as possible.
“I believe that Jigawa has a lot to harvest from cultural and tourism sector and we are glad that we are here to look at how culture and tourism can be a panacea to economic development.”
The governor, represented by the Secretary to State Government, AlhajiAbdulkadirFanini, thanked the minister and organisers of the Council for the choice of Jigawa to host the event.
Fanini said Jigawa had a lot to contribute to the development of culture and tourism as alternative to oil and gas and the event would help to promote the state.