I hardly ever see eye to eye on decisions made by the Nigerian government, but during this year in July to be precise, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed spoke out about a plan the Federal government had to stop the production of Nigerian music videos abroad. Although many were quick to jump to the conclusion that it will be terrible for the common Nigerian artiste’s business. I thought for a while to look at the bigger picture and I figured in the long term, there will be more benefits than harm not only for the Nigerian artiste but for Nigeria as a whole and for its economy.
These were my views
The Nigerian musician runs to South Africa to produce his/her music and anywhere else to shoot videos for a legitimate reason as quality. Now, the Nigerian producers and video editors may or may not have the required technologies to produce work as sophisticated as what would be done outside. This really makes sense but long term, it would prove to be a selfish reason because we will not be working for the advancement of all Nigerians in Nigeria but for the advancement of individuals; just my thoughts, but if Nigerian artistes start to patronize the few producers out there with state of the art technology, healthy competition will be encouraged and self-development among producers will escalate. This will be of huge benefit to the economy as there will be circulation of wealth within the country in at least one sector. This process may take a few years but in the end it will be worth it and the musicians as well as producers will be able to compete effectively with outsiders.
When it comes to videos, I believe our artistes usually look outside for aesthetically pleasing spots and beautiful scenery. Now personally, I always felt Nigeria had the potential to develop aesthetically and we have amazing tropical looking environments that can be renovated for huge tourist revenue but we never tapped that potential. If we are confined to make videos within our borders, we will discover new and old spots alike that can be very satisfying and this could attract foreigners to invest and come as tourists to Nigeria. Again, this will happen all in good time.
As expected, most Nigerian artistes were not really accepting the idea. They said the producers they patronize outside the country are mostly Nigerians but you and I know there is a huge difference between being Nigerian and living in Nigeria. These Nigerians being patronized outside contribute to the economy of another country while their country’s economy downward spirals constantly. Don’t get me wrong, there is no problem with Nigerians outside succeeding, but those of us here have to look out for one another and try to bring each other up, so as to bring up the nation. Sometimes we sacrifice for the greater good and I believe that was the idea the government had by proposing this law. Although, since July, much hasn’t been said about this, I hope plans are being put in place like the minister said.
What Lai Mohammed Had To Say
The Federal Government says it has taken steps to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to discourage the production of Nigerian movies and music outside the shore of the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known on Saturday in Lagos when he paid a visit to the headquarters of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). 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. “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,” he said. The Minister noted that what is happening today is that Nigerian artists were often flown out of this country to go and make their recordings. “When they get there, they will patronize 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 also stressed that the federal government is 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 a private sector-driven, while government would create the enabling environment for its growth.
I see this as the government actually looking for ways to improve the economy in the little things. Not trying to impose the law but a petition because really, the people make up the country and if everyone is comfortable, then the country will be comfortable.
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