By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Thursday, held a virtual meeting with creative industry players, to ascertain the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Nigeria Creative Industry, and to set an agenda.
The meeting with the topic, “Agenda Setting For The Nigeria Creative Industry – COVID-19: Impact on Nigeria’s Creative Industry”, was chaired by the Director General, NCAC, Runsewe Olusegun and had in attendance several industry players, as well as the Bangladesh High Commissioner to Nigeria, Md. Shameem Ahsan.
In his remarks, the Guest Speaker, Mr Israel Eboh, President, National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), stated that COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of life and the creative sector is the most hit, as Arts’ creation requires an audience to be commercially viable.
He further reiterated, that the sector is greatly impacted, particularly for practitioners who earn when they perform, noting however, that it is important to take advantage of the pandemic and not dwell only on the negatives.
Eboh, emphasized that digitalizing the craft has become absolutely necessary. “Is it possible that the performing art will continue to create wealth, yes it is possible”, he said. “The pandemic has challenged us to move beyond the way we have operated before now, where we believe that we must gather in a larger crowd to perform our art. We must find new ways, and ways to take our arts to the people, our arts should be relevant”.
While expressing disappointment that there is no support for the industry in Nigeria, he stated that the industry players must continue to ensure that after this pandemic, they can still have an industry, and urged them to agitate for bailouts in the form of grants rather than loans.
He called for collaboration among those in the sector, so as to identify those who can take up the business, and those who can market to achieve effective results.
For his part, the Director General, NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, in his opening remarks, noted that the meeting became important due to the impact of the Coronavirus on the industry especially.
He added that there is a need to develop a database of all the creatives, and assured that the NCAC is developing a robust report that will show what happened to the industry, before, during and after COVID-19 and will also address the issue of databases, noting also that the sector, although viable, has not been given the lifeline needed.
In his brief remarks, the Bangladesh High Commissioner, Md. Shameem Ahsan, said that COVID-19 has put the industry in a terrible position, urging however, that priority should not get lost.
He declared that Bangladesh will remain a party to all the good initiatives of the NCAC
Also speaking, Fred Amata, a Nigerian actor, producer and director called for unity of the arts, as well as continuity of the virtual meetings by NCAC, so as to move the industry forward.