John Ofikhenua, Abuja
The Federal Government has described the film industry as the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria which must be supported even as it noted that the industry contributed N83 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who announced this in Abuja at the inauguration of the Steering Committee (SC) on the Commercialisation of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).
He also noted that the country’s film industry had the potential to make Nigeria the entertainment capital of Africa.
He added that the Federal Government was now set to reposition the NFC for effective service delivery.
“What we are doing today is to simply reposition the NFC in a manner that will enable it to play the role statutorily assigned to it,” he said.
The minister stressed the need to reposition the film industry and provide the necessary enablement for the industry to thrive, adding that as the driver of entertainment, the industry has also brought fame to the country.
BPE’s Head of Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman made this known in a statement yesterday.
According to the statement, the minister decried the lack of critical infrastructure to drive the film industry in Nigeria, saying, for example, Nigeria has only 142 cinema houses compared to South Africa with 782 cinemas; the United States of America, 40,393; India, 11,209, and China with 50,976 cinema houses.
Mohammed appealed to state governments to invest in the provision of infrastructure for the entertainment industry, in view of its huge potential to generate employment and contribute to the economy.
“It is important to appeal, especially to our state governments, to invest in infrastructure in the industry. I don’t think it will be too much for the state governments to ensure they build at least one cinema house in each local government area of their state. That will give us additional 774 cinema houses,” he said.
He lamented that the NFC, which is expected to regulate and organise professional practice in the film industry, is facing a string of challenges, which include the inability to engage in commercial film production, budgetary constraints, operational inefficiency among others.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise, Mr. Alex Okoh, clarified that the reform of the NFC is not privatisation but the commercialisation of the industry with no transfer of ownership or sale of share, so as to ensure that the values of the corporation are enhanced.
Okoh said the desire is to reposition the NFC to attract incentives as it has great potentials.
Membership of the SC comprises; the Minister of Information and Culture as Chairman, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Managing Director of the NFC while the Director, Industries, and Communications in the Bureau, will serve as the Secretary.