The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the weekend visited the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) House in Lagos, during which he stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria is determined to ensure that what is consumed in Nigeria, including films and music, must be made in Nigeria.
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.
The minister decried the situation whereby films, reality TV shows and music were made outside Nigeria for consumption by Nigerians.
He said the situation had hampered empowerment of practitioners in the industry, the development of the sector and the nation’s economy in general.
“This government has agreed that henceforth, whatever we consume in Nigeria in terms of music and films, must be made in Nigeria,” he 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.”
The minister noted that what was happening today was that Nigerian artists were often flown out of this country to go and make their recordings.
“When they get there, they will patronise the economy of that country and then bring the products back to Nigeria for us to consume.
“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.”
He stressed that “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,” he said.
To encourage local production of films and music, the minister said that Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission had put forward a proposal to classify the creative industry and grant it a pioneer status.
He said that with the pioneer status, the creative industry would be entitled to certain incentives and tax holiday.
The minister said that there would also be waivers for shipment of imported music and films production equipment.
He stressed that the federal government was committed to making the creative industry viable, dynamic and sustainable.
Mohammed said that as one of the key areas for diversification of the economy, the creative industry would be private sector-driven, while government would create the enabling environment for its growth.
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