The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said 40 Nigerian Festival Managers have been trained by the British Council on the management of festivals for economic gains, under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Ministry and the Council
The Minister made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, on a courtesy visit to his office.
“The MoU we signed with the British Council in Edinburgh last year has started yielding some fruits. In February, we had the first training of forty Festival Managers in collaboration with the British Council. This is the first time that we are having this kind of collaboration between the British Council and the Ministry.
“These Festival Managers, on the successful completion of their training, have been assured that they will also be attached to various festivals all over the world where they will understudy the technical, financial and management aspects of festivals because we look at our culture and heritage as another area where we can diversify the economy,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said Nigeria has commenced discussion with Britain on how the country can learn from the British experience in combating the piracy of intellectual property in order to adequately monetize the creative industry in Nigeria.
He also reiterated the commitment of the present administration to the ease of doing business in Nigeria, particularly in adopting a flexible visa regime that will ensure easy access to the country by investors, tourists and journalists.
“We also spoke at length about the difficulty that British journalists encounter when trying to come to Nigeria. The good news here is that this government has set up a Presidential Council on the Ease of Doing Business and reforming the visa regime, movement of passengers and goods are issues that we intend and we are committed to improving.”
In his remarks, the British High Commissioner said Britain is collaborating with Nigeria in a wide range of areas, especially the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, where a British company is currently playing a pivotal role.
“We talked about the Digital Switch Over in Nigeria and this is moving TV from the analogue signal to the digital signal. There is a British company, Inview, that is working very hard in Nigeria with the Honourable Minister and other ministries here in Nigeria, looking at a way in which British experience can help in the very important switch over from analogue to digital, following very successful launch in Jos and here in Abuja,” he said.
Arkwright said Britain is also providing technical assistance in the area of film and intellectual property rights in Nigeria.