The Federal Government has stated that 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 while addressing the situation where films, reality TV shows and music, were made outside Nigeria, for consumption by Nigerians stated that the process 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.
He continued saying:
“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 noted that what was happening today was 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, ”.
The Minister said to encourage local production of films and music, the 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.
According to the minister, there would also be waivers for shipment of imported music and films production equipment. He stressed that the federal government was committed to making the creative industry viable, dynamic and sustainable.
He added that as one of the key areas for diversification of the economy, the creative industry would be private sector-driven, while government would create the enabling environment for its growth. The Minister lauded COSON and its management team for achieving a lot in seven years of existence.
“I am very proud of COSON because in terms of excellence and competence, COSON can compete with any known international brand. “COSON is operating in a tough environment where people believe that intellectual property of people belong to no one and is meant for the use of all, without compensation. “The body has however done a lot in copyright royalty collection and distribution since its inception in 2010,.”
The Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji described the society to be an umbrella body to fight copyright infringements as recalled that for many decades, music was broadcast freely on radio and TV stations across Nigeria, and dished out in hotels, as if they belonged to no one.
Okoroji said COSON was set up to manage the collection and distribution of royalties arising from the public and commercial use of musical works and sound recordings He said COSON was being managed in transparent manner by professionals, and had distributed over half a billion Naira in royalties since its inception in 2010.
Newsmen report that Okoroji, along with COSON management team, conducted the Minister and his entourage round the facilities at the headquarters of the organisation. In the entourage of the Minister were, the Director Generals of Nigeria Television Authority, Yakubu Mohammed and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Dr Mansur Liman.