Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called on state governments to encourage and support movie producers by providing incentives and creating the enabling environment for the creative industry to thrive in their respective states.
Mohammed made this call in Abuja after witnessing the premiere of a movie titled ‘My Name is Kadi’.
He said the reason he attended the movie premiere in person was to further buttress the need to encourage and support the movie industry, especially to put into action the promises so far made by the federal government to strengthen the creative sector.
The minister said though government at the centre already has plans on ground for the growth of the movie industry, “I think the state governments should encourage such film-makers also by giving them access to grants to help them because this (Movie Production) could be very expensive.”
“The state governments will also help by establishing cinema houses to show these films,” he said.
Mohammed noted that if properly harnessed through regulatory and legislative framework, the film industry has a huge potential to contribute significantly to the development of the economy.
He said: “If you look at the GDP of California, which is largely dependent on the Creative Industry, it’s about the sixth in the world. Go to Mumbai in India and other cities, the Creative Industry is the bedrock of their economy.
“The good news here is that the artists, the film-makers, the musicians have gone far ahead and are today in a domineering position globally.”
The Minister said the government is working with some development partners to provide data and statistics that will encourage the private sector to key into the Creative Industry by investing and making profit.
He however observed that one of the challenges faced by the movie industry in Nigeria is that it’s largely unstructured, hence the government is creating a self-regulatory mechanism through the establishment of the Motion Picture Council of Nigeria, MOPICON, to organise and properly structure the industry.
On the issue of piracy, Mohammed said that his ministry and that of Justice are partnering to curb piracy, noting that the punishment for piracy needs to be stringent enough to discourage the unwholesome practice.
“We must protect the intellectual property of our artists. We have laws already in place but there are some people who are of the view that the punishment is not stringent enough,” the Minister noted.
He also harped on the need to discourage Nigerians from patronizing pirated products through advocacy to create awareness on the dangers of piracy to the nation’s economy.