The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reassured Nigerians that in spite of the difficulties posed by the current recession, the future of the country’s economy is bright.
The minister gave the reassurance at the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2016 on Tuesday at the Eko Atlantic City, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister, the Lagos State Deputy Governor,Idiat Adebule, and other dignitaries toured the Eko Atlantic city, a tourism site under construction to mark the day.
Mr. Mohammed noted that the multi-million dollar city, being built wholly by private investors on sand-filled land recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, “is a better testimony to his assertion of better days ahead.”
“It takes an investor to have a great confidence in any economy before putting hundreds of millions of dollars into a city like this.
“Those who can see the bright stars in our horizon beyond this temporary cloud of difficulties are investing in the country even as we speak,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed appealed to investors to help turn the nation’s numerous tourist sites to tourist attractions, adding “Nigeria is rich in natural and man-made tourist destinations.’’
He said government would continue to invest massively in infrastructural development for more tourist sites to become accessible to all.
Mr. Mohammed said that World Tourism day, held annually on September 27 for the last quarter of a century, was meant to foster awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic impact.
He reiterated that tourism and the creative industry represented the new oil for the Nigerian economy diversification programme.
“Agriculture and mining are viable options, but tourism is the low hanging fruit in this regard, and we must not hesitate to pluck it,” he said.
In his remarks, the tour guide, Ronald Chargoury, said that the Eko Atlantic city located adjacent Victoria Island and Lekki covered 10 million square metres.
He said the city would boast of 450,000 residents and 300,000 commuters, and register free economic zone to encourage economic activities.
Mr. Chargoury said the city being developed by the South Energy Nigeria Ltd was 100 per cent privately funded with 8.5 kilometre sea wall tested to withstand the fiercest Atlantic storms.