The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr Festus Keyamo, has said the Federal Government would intensify efforts to fight piracy in the entertainment industry.
Keyamo said this when the members of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Abuja Chapter, led by its Chairman, Mr Alvin Ahmed, paid him a courtesy visit on Friday. He expressed concern for the rate at which intellectual properties of artistes were lost through piracy, noting that if left unchecked, the scourge would affect the growth of Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry.
He assured the Nollywood members that the ministry would collaborate with other government agencies to tackle piracy. “By so doing, the intellectual property would be protected, the industry would grow and more employment would be created.”
Acknowledging the socio-economic importance of Nollywood to the nation, and its huge capacity to generate employment, the minister assured the AGN of government’s effort at promoting the industry.
He stated that government had made available funds for the industry and encouraged them to access the funds, urging them to meet the conditions attached. According to him, other ways to grow the industry is for government to invest heavily in infrastructure, such as building film villages, providing state-of-the-art equipment and post-production studios, and making them affordable for young producers.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Ahmed, sought collaboration with government to promote the film industry. “We are film makers, creative people, actors, producers. We want to have synergy with government. Nollywood wants a voice, a projection, while we need our voices to be heard,’’ Ahmed said.
He also stated the desire of Nollywood to collaborate with government to put the visions and plans of government into visuals. Ahmed said the industry had contributed a lot in job creation by making people to earn a living from entertainment, acting and film making.
He then requested for government assistance in promoting the industry. “Nollywood has been there for long, creating employment for a whole lot of people. “There is no age limit in its employment, as little children, youths, adults, the old, physically challenged and so on, are all employed by the industry. Social isolation causes mental issues in the elderly, psychologist says “In Abuja alone, Nollywood has close to 6,000 actors, remove Nollywood, and these people will be on the street looking for jobs,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that after India’s Bollywood, the Nigerian film industry is the second largest in the world based on annual production. Nollywood produces an astonishing average of 50 movies per week, employing approximately a million people in the process. However, this booming industry, with estimated yearly revenue north of 5 billion dollars, is being crippled by an endemic piracy and corruption problem that is devouring no less than half of that sum in unearned profits.