By Olawale Ajimotokan
The federal government has inaugurated the Steering Committee on the Commercialisation of the Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who inaugurated the committee yesterday said the country’s film industry has the potential to make Nigeria the entertainment capital of Africa, adding that the federal government is now set to reposition the NFC for effective service delivery.
“What we are doing today is to simply reposition the NFC in a manner that will enable it to play the role statutorily assigned to it,” he said.
The minister stressed the need to reposition the film industry and provide the necessary enablement for the industry to thrive, adding that as the driver of entertainment, the industry has also brought fame to the country.
He decried the lack of critical infrastructure to drive the film industry in Nigeria, saying for example, Nigeria has only 142 cinema houses compared to South Africa with 782 cinemas; United States of America, 40,393; India, 11,209, and China with 50,976 cinema houses.
Mohammed subsequently appealed to state governments to invest in the provision of infrastructure for the entertainment industry, in view of its huge potential to generate employment and contribute to the economy.
“It is important to appeal, especially to our state governments, to invest in infrastructure in the industry. I don’t think it will be too much for the state governments to ensure they build at least one cinema house in each local government area of their state. That will give us additional 774 cinema houses,” he said.
He lamented that the NFC, which is expected to regulate and organise professional practice in the film industry, is facing a string of challenges, which include the inability to engage in commercial film production, budgetary constraints, operational inefficiency among others.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise, Mr. Alex Okoh, clarified that the reform of the NFC is not a privatisation but the commercialisation of the industry with no transfer of ownership or sale of share, so as to ensure that the resident values of the corporation are enhanced.