The federal government said Thursday that it was exploring ways and financial models to help the media industry in the country to fulfil its functions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the media and creative industry is one of the sectors of the economy mostly affected by the pandemic.
He said government was mindful of the services being rendered by media practitioners, hence the need to revive the fourth estate the realm.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that the creative industry, who comprises the media is the most badly affected in the COVID-19 pandemic and that we are already working towards alleviating the challenges.
“I have been in contact with leadership of newspapers to get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspapers and the entire media industry.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), a stakeholder committee held in Lagos on the creative industry and we are almost about getting ready the list of special stakeholders committee that will address the issue of the post-COVID-19 creative industry. As soon as we get the terms of reference, we would announce the membership and the terms of reference,” he said.
The minister said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside creative industry financing to ensure that the industry resurrected post-COVID-19.
“Sometimes in 2018, I led a team of the creative industry stakeholders to meet the Central Bank on how to provide finance for the industry. The CBN creative industry financing initiative was as a result of that effort. What we need to do is leverage this particular fund made available by the central bank to revive the industry,” he said.
He said the digital switch over in broadcasting would be a panacea to the creative industry as it was capable of creating thousands of jobs in the country.
“I am not under any illusion that it is not going to be very easy, but if we work with stakeholders, we will be able to achieve result,” he said.
The minister said engagements were ongoing with various sectors of the media and that the broadcasting organisation would meet with the ministry to explore ways of helping the broadcast industry.
“We’ve started engaging the various sectors of the media. As a matter of fact, the broadcaster organisations will be meeting with my ministry either on Tuesday or Wednesday so we can explore ways of helping the broadcast industry which we all agree is the biggest victim of this pandemic.
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“I have always been in contact with the leadership of newspapers and we intend to also ramp up the meeting with them so we can get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspaper and the entire media industry.
“I also recieved calls from leadership of the hoteliers who complained that all the hotels are shut, and there is no business. We are meeting with all these groups,” he said.