CBN to Curb Piracy with Digital Payment Options

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Godwin Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele

By Emma Okonji

Worried about the huge financial losses incurred by the Nigerian Creative Industry, through piracy of movies and music, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it is set to address the challenge by creating digital payment options and contents to enable Nigerians have multiple digital channels to purchase movies and music.

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said this at the Creative Nigeria Summit, organised by Think Tank Media, which held in Lagos recently.

He said: “Despite our large population, the lack of widely accessible shopping platforms, smuggling of goods, piracy, as well as lack of digital payment options have limited the growth of the creative industries in Nigeria relative to countries such as South Africa and Kenya.

“Indeed, we read about how the income due to our young movie personnel and musicians are stolen through unpaid royalties. We intend to work with your cooperative associations to ensure that all revenues/royalties due our creative youths enter their bank accounts rather than being stolen.”

Citing a report by PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) that South Africa, with a population of 53 million generated close to $85.3 million in consumer spending on music in 2018, a figure much larger than that amount spent in either Kenya or Nigeria, coupled with South Africa’s per capita music spending of $1.61 that is far greater than 43 cents spent in Kenya and 25 cents spent in Nigeria, Emefiele said: “By this measure, if we are able to address these challenges which have constrained the growth of our creative industries, enormous room for growth exist in the Nigerian market.”

Emefiele assured Nigerians that the CBN would do its best to ensure that entrepreneurs in the creative sector obtain their fair share of what is derived from their hard work, adding that CBN intends to curb the worrying phenomenon of piracy of movies and music.
“One way we intend to curb these acts is by supporting the development of digital content and widely accessible platforms under which every Nigerian can purchase or rent movies/music via their mobile phones.

“We recently granted Approval in principle for establishment of Payment Service Bank licenses to firms affiliated with the telecoms and fintech industries. We believe this measure will help accelerate our efforts at ensuring more Nigerians have access to mobile financial services, particularly in underserved parts of the country.

“This will also enable Nigerians to purchase music, and movies via bank accounts linked to their mobile phones,” Emefiele said.
During a panel session at the Creative Nigeria Summit, the Managing Director of GTBank, Mr. Segun Agbaje said the bank had always turned ideas to bankable products that would support the initiative of CBN to address piracy in the creative industry.

“Our financial business portfolio is open to young entrepreneurs who are in long term business and are willing to payback loans, Agbaje said.

Addressing the challenges in the textile industry, Emefiele said the CBN had also engaged in efforts to limit the smuggling of textile materials into the country.

“So far, our measures are yielding fruits as smugglers of textile materials are being restricted from utilising the Nigerian financial system to support their nefarious activities.

“We intend to use this same measure to stop copyright infringements in our music and movie industries. This will help to support the growth of entrepreneurs in our local creative industries, as they will be able to capture the gains of their work, Emefiele assured Nigerians.

He therefore called on members of the creative industry group to partner the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee to achieve the initiative.

Managing Director, Think Tank Media and Advertising Ltd, Taiwo Olukunle, commended the CBN Governor for his comments about the key roles that banks played in the real economy and digital strategy, even as co-investor. For acknowledging that banks face high costs around regulation compliance, Olukunle said Emefiele understood that banks face cost pressures when building out their digital banking channels.