The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged stakeholders in the culture sector to use the creativity in the industry to boost the country’s economy.

Mohammed gave the advice at the opening of the Boat regatta display as part of activities marking the ongoing Abuja National Carnival.

“While the country needs a lot of money and infrastructure to diversify other areas of the economy, we do not need so much in the creative industry to achieve that diversification.

“The contents and infrastructure we need are in the heads of the individuals working in the sector.

“The participants in the regatta do not need government to teach them. It’s like a tradition that is inherent and if properly tapped, can turn the economic situation of a person, state and the country at large,’’ Mohammed said.

 He also said culture and tourism were not all about singing and dancing, but the peace and unity that would always come with them could not be over emphasised.

“Culture is not about song or dance, but the peace and unity it brings should be of a great importance to us.

“Today we are here to witness the boat regatta; all the participants are socialising with each other, and no one will like to offend anyone. That is what festivals like this bring joyful atmosphere.

“Nigeria has a population of about 180, and only two world recognised tourism sites, while Italy that their population is not up to half has 50 sites.

“We need to make up with other cultural activities that exist in different zones of the country to attract tourists and increase our foreign exchange.

Sen. Matthew Urhoghide, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, said the sector was of huge importance to the nation’s economy.

“Culture and tourism is one sector that we need not play with because of its potential to boost the economy.

 “I and my colleagues in the lower house are ready to do whatever possible to push the sector and make it realise its mission and vision.

“ Tourism sector is a latent area that we believe that the country will derive a lot of revenue from.

“There is the need to put in place the necessary legislative framework to adequately harness culture and tourism into a viable economy,’’ Urhoghide said.

Mr Bayo Ononuga , the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who was represented by a Special Assistant, Mr Victor Idem, thanked those who made efforts to make the event a success.

“We thank God for the success of the Abuja Carnival boat regatta. On behalf of all the participants, I thank the Minister for bringing so much vibrancy and vision to the culture sector.

“You have opened another vista to help us appreciate our vast potentials inherent in our culture.

“I thank the participating states; their enthusiasm and dexterity in boat sailing and rowing demonstration was very entertaining.

“We pledge our support and commitment to the sector so it grows to its full potentials,’’ Ononuga said.

The regatta display featured only four states – Delta, Kogi, Ogun and Bayelsa.