By Christiana Ekpa
Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has told the Senate that, the management accessed N300 million loan from the Bank of Industry(BOI) to reposition the Agency.
He said eligible operators in the sector were free to apply for soft loans to assist them.
The Director General noted that the move by the council to solicit for the loan was to ensure a move from the theoretical aspect of culture to the practical aspect.
He stressed that besides the loan, the council’s 2018 budget contained provisions for skills acquisition programmes among others.
“We will be having skills acquisition programmes all over the country and we are also going to be having `waste to wealth’ projects because that is what will impact on the ordinary person on the street. This will help to create jobs, while reducing unemployment and poverty.
“We will use the N300 million loan we got from the Bank of Industry as soft loan because we want the ordinary man on the street to benefit from it.
“What we do is to recommend credible operators in the sector to the bank to access the loan. They will get a letter from us and take to the bank to access the loan. The fund is available and I want to thank them for the support to the sector,’’ he said.
Runsewe commended the National Assembly, particularly the Senate for the support in ensuring that the culture and tourism sector took its pride of place.
“I want to commend the National Assembly, especially the Senate for their support for where we are today and we solicit their continuous support for us to get to where we are going.’’
The National Council for Arts and Culture and agencies under it, had on Wednesday appeared before the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism to defend their 2018 Budget.
They were however asked to work on the budget to accommodate recent release for capital projects.
The committee noted that it did not want the agency to have abandoned projects, stating that uncompleted projects at the end of 2017 fiscal year could be rolled over to 2018.