The federal government has said it is exploring financial models to help the media industry fulfill its functions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, said the government is not oblivious of the fact that the creative industry is the most hit by COVID-19 pandemic.
He said efforts are ongoing to ensure the resurrection of the industry.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that the creative industry, which comprises the media is the most badly affected in the COVID-19 pandemic and that we are already working towards alleviating the challenges.
“Yesterday, a stakeholders committee held in Lagos on the creative industry and we are almost about getting ready the list of special stakeholders committee that will address the issue of the post-COVID-19 creative industry.
”As soon as we get the terms of reference, we would announce the membership and the terms of reference,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every industry, which includes the media and creative industry.
Due to some challenges faced, there are indications some media organisations might not be able to meet their financial commitments or even pay staff salaries in months ahead.
Recently, broadcast stations in South-west Nigeria lamented the decline in revenue and said they may have to shut down their operations.
Outside Nigeria, Gannett, which owns USA today, recently announced plans to cut salaries and lay-off some staff temporarily after a major loss in advertising revenue amid the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Mohammed said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside creative industry financing to ensure the industry is resurrected post-COVID-19.
“Sometimes in 2018, I led a team of the creative industry stakeholders to meet the Central Bank on how to provide finance for the industry.
“The CBN creative industry financing initiative was as a result of that effort. What we need to do is leverage this particular fund made available by the central bank to revive the industry,” he said.
He also said that the digital switch over in broadcasting would be a panacea to the creative industry as it was capable of creating thousands of jobs in the country.
The minister noted that engagements are ongoing with various sectors of the media.
”The broadcasting organisation will be meeting with my ministry to explore ways of helping the broadcast industry which we will all agree is one of the biggest victim of this pandemic.
“I have been in contact with leadership of newspapers to get a solution to the ailing economy of the newspapers and the entire media industry,” he said.
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