The Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated the State Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee, aimed at reactivating the Tourism, Arts and Culture sector.
Inaugurating the committee in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, said that the state’s creative industry had remained dormant, following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Akinbile-Yusuf said in a statement that the six-member committee, chaired by Mrs Joke Silva, was expected to draw out suggestions and recommendations on ways to re-activate the industry.
She said that members were expected to make recommendations to the state government on ways to rejuvenate its economy, particularly the Tourism and Entertainment industry.
”The situation in the world today was not pre-determined. This is where we are and this is what we have seen happening to us.
”The tourism sector is one of the worst-hit sectors by this pandemic because, on a daily basis, Lagos records new cases and we must not shy away from the fact that COVID-19 is still with us.
”Everywhere is shut down. The airline operators are not operating, there is nothing like Art exhibitions, and hospitality businesses have been put on hold.
”So, we want to find a way to sustain our economy and the industry, even with the pandemic, and see how best we can continue to improve on the creative sector,” the commissioner said.
Akinbile-Yusuf said that the committee was expected to submit its reports in two weeks.
She said that some of the terms of reference for the committee include conducting a holistic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
According to her, the committee is to come up with recommendations on the short and long term palliatives with respect to soft loans and grants to assuage the negative impact of the scourge on the industry.
She said that the committee was also expected to refocus attention toward the development of domestic tourism as an immediate measure to revitalise the industry.
Akinbile-Yusuf said that the expectations of government include advice on strategic measures that would ensure post-COVID-19 sustainability of the industry.
She assured that the state government would not abandon the industry in such a precarious situation, but provide support and encouragement to sustain tourism and ensure it thrived beyond COVID-19.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts and Culture, Mr Solomon Bonu, said that those in the committee were very knowledgeable about the industry.
Bonu said that the state was looking at revitalising the tourism business, hence, the need for the committee.
He, therefore, implored the committee members to bring their professionalism and expertise to bear on boosting the state’s tourism sector beyond the COVID-19 era.
The Chairman of the Committee, Silva, thanked the state government for the opportunity given to come up with recommendations to reposition the creative and tourism industry in the state.
Silva, a veteran actress, said that all the appointees would work together to achieve the expected results.
”I am very lucky to have intelligent people as members of the committee because they are men and women who are very knowledgeable and passionate about the industry.
”I know that our collaboration will result in good recommendations. The creative industry has been greatly affected by COVID-19, but we will get through it,” she said.
Other members of the committee are Mr Atunyota Akpobome (a.k.a Ali Baba), Mr Patrick Donald Lee, Dr Adun Okupe, Mrs Oyenike Okundaye and Mr Gbenga Sunmonu.