Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government has pledged to invest in the necessary infrastructure to ensure the growth of the film industry and complement the efforts of the tireless professionals who built the industry from the scratch.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the pledge at the sixth Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Lagos on Sunday.
”When we trusted in the almighty oil, we built refineries, pipelines, petrol marketing companies, petrol stations etc. Since we are now rightly shifting our focus to this sector, we must now make the necessary investments in the infrastructure that will grow the film industry.
”The Film industry has proven itself to be not just a great employer of labor, especially young people, but also potentially a very high foreign exchange earner because of its international appeal and demand,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the industry has done ”a fantastic job” without the requisite government support and partnership, and that it is time for the government to give it the necessary support.
”We need professional studio facilities in every state of the country. You should also not be providing your own power, borrowing at 30%, travelling abroad to do post-production etc.
”Mr President has publicly put his weight behind the creative industry and has promised to do everything that will make it possible for us to transit from a creative industry to a creative economy. To this end we are already in talks with state governments and investors to build studio facilities that will equal those in Mexico, India, the U.S etc. This will make film making easier and increase the quality of films,” he said.
The Minister said the ongoing transition from analogue to digital broadcasting will also help provide a major customer base for Nigerian films, since the acquisition of Set Top Boxes by the 24 million Television households in the country will make it possible for them to buy newly-released film by the touch of the button He congratulated the organisers of the festival for their laudable efforts and their investment in human capital through education and training.