Otumba Runsewe Calls For Synergy Among Tourism Stakeholders To Drive Economic Diversify

Otumba Runsewe Calls For Synergy Among Tourism Staeholders To Drive Economic Diversify
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…Says If Dubai, China, Others Can Do It, Nigeria Can Do It Too

Cultural tourism, driven by marked changes at the cultural awareness level and the visitor needs, has been experiencing drastic changes in recent years, both in the way of presenting cultural values and satisfying the widely diverse population of cultural tourists.

Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC has raised the alarm on the need for Nigeria to drive its economic diversification process using the rich resources in arts, culture, and tourism. He warned against overreliance on oil, which he said, is not sustainable.

Runsewe,  stating his goal, said as the DG is to use culture in Nigeria to drive the economic diversification process using the rich resources in arts, culture tourism and stop the overreliance on oil which according to him is not sustainable.

In a paper titled, “Beyond The Oil Economics: The Diversification Options for Nigeria” said the time to think outside the box is now noted that it is clear to all that Nigeria can no longer continue to depend solely on crude oil exportation, adding that with the rich and diverse cultural resources of Nigeria and given the abundant tourism resources, it stands to reason that if Nigeria as a country must diversify its economy, it must look outside crude oil which is the current major foreign exchange earner and focus on arts, culture, and tourism as one of the key players in its economic development.

He noted that the dwindling revenues from oil have made it highly imperative for Nigeria to pursue a sustained process of economic diversification, ‘if we must attain the much needed economic stability and development.’

“The near-total dependence on crude oil exportation as the source of Nigeria’s  Foreign Exchange (FOREX) earnings, Runsewe stated,  has greatly slowed down the pace of development in other sub-sectors of the economy such as agro-allied industry, manufacturing, solid minerals, and the service industry, among others,” he said.

Otunba Runsewe recalled that for about 50 years or more, crude oil exploration and exportation have dominated Nigeria’s economy, adding that while other oil-producing countries use crude oil exportation to provide the needed revenue for developing and strengthening other sectors of the economy, the reverse is the case in Nigeria

“It would appear that the discovery of oil in Nigeria has come with its attendant woes. This is because the Nigerian oil wealth has tended to becloud our sense of initiative and economic vision while promoting a national culture of unbridled corruption, laziness, opportunism, and primitive acquisitive tendency.

“Apart from the effect of near-total neglect, the oil economy has had on other critical sectors, the fluctuation in the world prices of petroleum products has continued to pose a great threat to the stability of our economy, thus making effective planning on a sustainable basis extremely difficult,” Runsewe said.

He, however,  noted that for about five decades, crude oil exploration and exportation dominated Nigeria’s economy, adding that while other oil-producing countries use crude oil revenues to develop and strengthen other sectors of the economy, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

“It would appear that the discovery of oil in Nigeria has come with its attendant woes. This is because the Nigerian oil wealth has tended to becloud our sense of initiative and economic vision while promoting a national culture of unbridled corruption, laziness, opportunism, and primitive acquisitive tendency.

“Apart from the effect of near-total neglect, the oil economy has had on other critical sectors, the fluctuation in the world prices of petroleum products has continued to pose a great threat to the stability of our economy, thus making effective planning on a sustainable basis extremely difficult,” Runsewe said.

According to him, the fluctuations in oil prices in the past years are enough reasons to diversify the economy from oil to arts, culture, and tourism. He said Nigeria is one of the most culturally diverse nations of the world with over 250 distinct ethnic groups; each with unique culture, cultural products and assets has the capacity of sustaining a robust tourism industry and driving the process of socio-economic development if adequately harnessed.

“For a nation as large as Nigeria with rich and diverse culture, one festival per state would go a long way in attracting tourists into the country thereby contributing to the development of the economy through spending in hotel lodging, patronage of local cuisines, transportation, and purchase of arts and crafts products among others. He identified Nigeria’s film industry as one of the fastest-growing in Africa and that the increasing popularity and patronage among African countries make the industry a potential foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.

He added that what is required is for the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board and other regulatory agencies to ensure that the quality of contents of the products, the country’s rich cultural heritage and sell the best of Nigeria.

The aim is to provide an insight into the range tourism can go in dinmicify the economy as well as to provide a conceptual background that could serve as a basis for the future research by other authors, with an emphasis on the vulnerability of the elementary concept of cultural tourism, based on diversity and recognition.

This is just as he noted that the fluctuation in the price of crude oil underscores the compelling need for diversification, as the only way for sustainable economic development in Nigeria.

The NCAC, Chief Executive Officer informed that  China, India, Dubai, Brazil, and South Africa are reaping bountifully from the huge benefits in the arts, culture, and tourism sector and that Nigeria with its enormous potential in these areas can achieve the same.

Runsewe, who presented a paper titled, “Beyond The Oil Economics: The Diversification Options for Nigeria ” at an interactive session with the media yesterday, said the time to think outside the box is now.

He pointed out that the progressive fall in the prices of petroleum products and its attendant shock on the economy of Nigeria has made it highly imperative for Nigeria to pursue a sustained process of economic diversification if we must attain the much-needed economic stability and development.

The NCAC boss added that it is now clear to all that Nigeria can no longer continue to depend solely on crude oil exportation.

To buttress his point, he gave the example of the international price of crude oil, which according to him rose to over $100 per barrel in 2013, it came down to as low as $28 per barrel in 2016 far below the $38 per barrel budgetary benchmark for 2016, stressing that today, the current price of crude oil stands at $64.90  per barrel which is ahead of the 2021 budgetary benchmark of $40. These fluctuations, he contended, are enough to diversify the economy from oil to arts, culture, and tourism.

He said that Nigeria, one of the most culturally diverse nations of the world with over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each with unique culture, cultural products, and assets, has the capacity of sustaining a robust tourism industry and driving the process of socio-economic development if adequately harnessed.

Nigeria, the WWC President asserted was also one of the three largest producers of groundnut in the world at that time, adding that before 1970, agriculture contributed more than 75 percent of Nigeria’s export earnings, but that since then, agriculture has stagnated, partly due to government neglect, poor investment and ecological factors such as drought, flooding, disease, and reduction in soil fertility.

According to him, “For a nation as large as Nigeria with rich and diverse culture, one festival per state would go a long way in attracting tourists into the country thereby contributing to the development of the economy through spending in hotel lodging, patronage of local cuisines, transportation, purchase of arts and crafts products among others. ”

The Nigerian film industry, Runsewe pointed out is one of the fastest-growing in Africa and that it is the 3rd most popular in the world coming after Hollywood of America and Bollywood of India.

The near-total dependence on crude oil exportation as the source of, Nigeria’s  Foreign Exchange(FOREX) earnings, Runsewe stated has greatly slowed down the pace of development in other sub-sectors of the economy such as agro-allied industry, manufacturing, solid minerals, and the service industry, among others.

The DG said that before the discovery of oil in Nigeria, the country’s economy was based on Agriculture and that at a stage   Cocoa had become Nigeria’s biggest single foreign exchange earner.

A lot of potentials, he said abound in the Nigerian tourism industry which can be harnessed to drive the diversification of our economy.

He called on the private sector stakeholders such as the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) Nigeria Association of tour Operations (NATOP) Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), Association of Journalist of Entertainment and Tourism (ANJET)  to work together with government institutions such as NCAC, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) to drive the process of development of the sector.

 

 


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