The Senate has urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to tourism in its drive to diversify the economy.
Rochas Okorocha, Chairman Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, said this during the 2020 budget defence by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, tourism has the potential to compete with crude oil in generating revenue for Nigeria.
He called on government to pay more attention to the sector as a way of diversifying the economy and creating job opportunities for Nigerians.
Mr Okorocha stressed the need for massive investment in the information and culture sector of the economy for effective diversification.
He said that Nigeria has so many tourist destinations but lacked marketing strategies to attract tourists.
According to him, the huge potentials of Nigeria’s culture deserve better funding to be adequately harnessed.
In his presentation, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that paucity of fund was the reason why the ministry was not taping into the fortunes of global tourism.
“The Ministry of Information and Culture is key to governance and all efforts must be made to adequately provide funds to the ministry to carry out our responsibilities.
“Given the amount of money that was released last year it was actually our creativity and resourcefulness that took us to where we are.
“We are still ready to be more creative and resourceful.
“I think the ministry needs sufficient funds to drive its responsibilities.
“We are the face of government and also superintend the culture department which is where Nigerians have positively placed the country at global map.
“So our music today; our films today are worldly rated and we need to support them,” Mohammed said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ministry has a budget of N5. 8 billion for its 2020 operations.