Central Nigeria: Rwang Pam township Jos, Plateau State on Monday became full with spectators, cultural performers, government officials, and security operatives as the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture started.
As typical of such events, petty traders – mostly hawkers were there to make sales.
But perhaps, the high population of hawkers at the event and other strategic locations in the city was somewhat unanticipated, suggesting “there is real hunger in the land,” said Business expert, Ms. Bolcit Barshep.
No one thought the event would’ve held, due to covid-19, said Ms. Bolcit, the Managing Director, Anista Marketing Ltd. However, “that it is holding is a miracle,” she said, surprised at the large turnout of people, “vendors from other states” included.
Officials have faced criticisms over the event holding in a recession, shortly after covid-19 lockdown. However, Bolcit says, it is an investment opportunity.
In her words, “The array of people that have graced the event have confessed how cool the weather is which is well sorted out in the hospitality industry and I have heard some of them say it’s an opportunity to site some recreational sites here.
“There are many more opportunities here in the agric, tourism and mining sectors. Anyone who has come here for the event must have picked one thing or another, which I believe will turnaround the fortunes of our people.”
The Plateau State Commissioner of Information, Dan Manjang, on said there were “more than revenue” gains for the State in the festival.
“Many people will be selling their merchandise and that will lead to savings and tax payment. The hospitality industry in particular will earn and pay tax and that will increase IGR. But beyond that, there will be skills acquisition training, new investment opportunities for us and above all, a new image of Plateau as people come and experience the peace we are enjoying beyond what they probably read in the papers,” said Manjang.
The event officially opened on Monday to last till 28th of November had in attendance at the opening at Rwang Pam township stadium, Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Chairman, Senate Committee on Tourism and Culture, Mai Mala Buni, the National Caretaker Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, and a host of others.
Holding at Langfield Leisure park Rayfield Jos, the event features traditional board game, Archery, Indigenous Fabrics competition, children’s Essay Competition and cultural Quiz competition, Officials say.
Other events are choral music competition, traditional cuisine, children’s indigenous instrumental competition, children’s craft and cultural performances.