The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has inaugurated members of the Lagos State COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee.
The six-man committee chaired by Mrs. Joke Silva, MFR, is expected to draw out suggestions and recommendations on how to re-activate the State creative industry, which has remained dormant as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world.
The Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. (Mrs) Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, while inaugurating the Committee at Alausa, on Thursday, explained that the members are expected to make recommendations to the State government on ways to rejuvenate its economy, particularly the Tourism and Entertainment industry.
In her words: “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", she added.
The Commissioner highlighted some of the terms of reference for the Committee, which is expected to submit its reports in two weeks, to include conducting a holistic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and 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.
While stating that the Committee is also expected to refocus attention towards the development of domestic tourism as an immediate measure to revitalise the industry, Akinbile-Yusuf said expectations of government include advice on strategic measures that will ensure post COVID-19 sustainability of the industry.
She gave an assurance that the State will not abandon the industry in such a precarious situation, but provide support and encouragement to sustain tourism and ensure it thrives beyond COVID-19.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu remarked that the State is looking at revitalising the tourism business, reiterating that those in the Committee are very knowledgeable about the industry.
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, a veteran actor, Mrs. Joke Silva thanked the State Government for the opportunity given to come up with recommendations to reposition the creative and tourism industry in the State, assuring that all the appointees will 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 assured.
Other members of the inaugurated committee include Mr. Atunyota Akpobome (a.k.a Ali Baba), Mr. Patrick Donald Lee, Dr. Adun Okupe, Mrs. Oyenike Okundaye and Mr. Gbenga Sunmonu.