In this age of Sustainable Development, Nollywood should realize that film is big business that cannot thrive through grants, owing to the fact that the process of disbursing grants amongst the ever increasing number of practitioners will always remain controversial since the funds can never go round.
Yet, with good business models anchored on quality management, producers can lobby to obtain loans with favourable conditions, including low interest rates. Undoubtedly, this will further enhance the industry’s contribution to Nigeria’s economic development.
Veteran thespian, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett once said, “Artistes are at the forefront and not the periphery of nation-building.”
It is against this backdrop that the various guilds and associations in the movie industry must unite and appoint one or two representatives, who will speak for them at the upcoming 21st Nigeria Economic Summit organized by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, the NESG. The summit will be holding between the 13th and 15th of October, 2015 at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja under the theme: Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability.
Additionally, Nollywood can persuade the organizers to include a representative of the industry in Pleanary 3, Day 1: Business and Sustainability in the Age of Sustainable Development Goals. The film industry should also participate in the Breakout Sessions and Design Workshops, which will focus on SMEs, the bottom-of-the-pyramid and Capacity Building.
Figures thrown around insist that Nollywood employs more than a million Nigerians, but the all important question is: What percentage of these ’employees’ truly earn decent livelihood, sustaining themselves and their households from their involvement in the film industry?
Almost every film-maker has criticized the criteria for obtaining the $200million loan from the Bank of Industry and NEXIM Bank. This is the time to compel the government to review those draconian hurdles through this first-rate Public-Private forum.
It is also high time that the process of providing quality capacity building for film producers, including those outside Lagos (Kano, Ibadan, Asaba, etc.) was discussed with a view to getting some institutional support that will aid the massive reorientation campaigns, which should be carried out for film-makers, majority of whom produce sub-standard works that are mostly consumed by people at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. These consumers become the worse for it because the ideologies propagated in such films are retrogressive and disappointing, at best.
According to the organizers of the summit, the objective of the summit is to devise strategies that will lead to the achievement of market competitiveness and inclusive growth in a sustainable way through bold decisions for the collective national good. They also hint that the summit presents an opportunity for participants to explore the tough choices that need to be made to secure our tomorrow together.
Nollywood cannot afford to neglect this opportunity.