Plans are underway by the federal government to ensure that Nigerian music and films are produced in the country as part efforts to promote the Nigerian content.
During a visit to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) House in Lagos, over the weekend, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Lai Mohammed decried the situation in which the films and music meant for consumption in Nigeria are made in foreign countries.
The minister stressed that government is determined to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in order to discourage the practice and ensure that what is consumed in Nigeria, including films and music, must be made in Nigeria.
The minister said:
“We cannot continue to go to South Africa or any other country to produce our films and then send them back to be consumed in Nigeria.
“The Broadcasting Code and the Advertising Code are very clear on this. For you to classify a product as a Nigerian product, it must have a certain percentage of Nigerian content.”
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Lai Mohammed argued that the practice had hampered empowerment of practitioners in the industry, the development of the sector and the nation’s economy in general. According to the Minister, when Nigerian artistes fly out of the country to make their recordings, they patronise the economy of that country and then bring the products back to Nigeria for consumption, Vanguard reports.
“It is like somebody going to China or Japan to make a product that looks like palm wine and bring it back home to label it Nigerian palm wine. As long as we are not able to implement our own code to ensure local production of Nigerian music and movies, our young talents will not get jobs.
“It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products and therefore they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.
“I am going to meet with the relevant stakeholders over this, to see that whatever amendment that is needed to be made to our Broadcasting Code in this regard, is done urgently,” Lai Mohammed said.
The Minister said efforts are also being made to give the Creative Industry a pioneer status so it can qualify for such incentives as tax holidays and waivers, especially of customs duties on the equipment for film and music production, among others.
With the pioneer status, the creative industry would be entitled to certain incentives and tax holiday. He also mentioned that there would be waivers for shipment of imported music and films production equipment, adding that the federal government was committed to making the creative industry viable, dynamic and sustainable.
As expected, various stakeholders in the entertainment industry have reacted to the development such as the Okoye brothers and rapper Ruggedman.
Paul joined voices with his brothers, Peter and Jude Okoye in slamming the FG with an Instagram post that reads:
Rapper Ruggedman has also reacted to the proposed plan in a post that reads:
“A woman has just been arrested for exchanging her 2-month-old baby for a bag of rice. That’s how hard the situation in our country is getting. Meanwhile, the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. A government that has not in anyway supported or encouraged the Nigerian entertainment industry, now thinks it can control it. An industry that men and women have single handedly built? BIG JOKE! ‘
“We watch you use the country any how you like because unfortunately, you are the ones at the helm of affairs. We all see how that has been going since 1960. You are not providing jobs for the masses. Education is poor, our Nigerian certificates are more useless than tissue paper outside Nigeria. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. There’s no stable electricity. Security is not stable. Our hospitals are not equipped, to the extent our president is receiving treatment in a London hospital. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. Nigerians who are not related to any rich family are on their own. Entertainment that has kept a lot of Nigerians off the street is what you want to try to destroy. You haven’t helped us fight pirates’.
“You haven’t helped us get our royalties. You have not set up anything to help the Nigerian entertainment industry. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. Amenities we lack are a few of the reasons some entertainers go outside the country to shoot music videos and movies. Now you want to try to stop that? Please do not make me laugh. Even America where their govt gives their citizens amenities they deserve still shoot movies in other countries. Nigerian government should stop giving us jokes and give us light, equip and pay our forces. Equip our hospitals enough so that even our president can be treated here. Stop owing pensioners, doctors and teachers. Stop sending your kids to schools abroad. It’s Nigeria’s money you are spending abroad. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. Spend our money on our land and its people”.