I had opined that the $200m intervention fund President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan promised the Nigerian entertainment industry over two years ago should be released without further delay to the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) bank (or any other competent bank or banks) for proper management and disbursement as loans to interested stakeholders. Here is the third and concluding part of my discourse, which started some weeks ago.
However, I suggest a single digit interest rate, preferably 2 to 3 percent on loans secured. The repayment period of such loans should be spread across five years, at least. The process of securing the loans must be transparent for all interested stakeholders who have value-adding projects to the Nigerian entertainment industry, to make requests and be considered strictly on merit.
This should not be all about giving undue preference to some Nigerians in the diaspora, simply because they sauntered into the country from their deeply rooted abode abroad, with very little or no contribution whatsoever to the survival of our entertainment industry thus far. The criteria for accessing the fund must be more inward looking.
I urge stakeholders on the ground here at home in the entertainment industry to sink their cacophonic voices, crabs in a basket-like habitation, use of uncircumcised language to pull down one another, bellyaching, shenanigans and manifestly bitter associations and guilds politics.
They should rise up in a unified, loud, consistent and sustained voice, to demand for this well deserved $200m intervention fund for the Nigerian entertainment industry, as promised by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Dialogue should comfortably sit in the front row of strategies that must be outlined to remind Mr. President of his campaign promise to the industry.
However, if all else fail, well-coordinated peaceful protest marches to Abuja by all the big and small names in the industry should quickly displace and overtake dialogue. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan must show his gratitude to the Nigerian entertainment industry.
The first step to doing this is to clear his $200m indebtedness to the industry, willy-nilly and without further delay. BoI and particularly NEXIM bank should stop misleading stakeholders in the entertainment industry and Nigerians generally with erroneous press statements and conferences, to the effect that loans secured from them thus far by one or two stakeholders in the industry were from the said $200m President Jonathan promised the industry.
Making a career in Nollywood
Adopting the film making profession as a career in Nigeria is a good idea. You can come into the industry in various capacities. You may wish to be an actor, scriptwriter, director, producer, editor, camera handler, lighting expert, make-up artiste, costumier, investor, set designer, property manager etc. Whether you choose to be a cast or crew member in Nollywood, one critical point to consider is training and acquisition of knowledge of how the industry works.
A degree in the arts or any other discipline for that matter is certainly an added advantage but on-the-job training and mentoring under established filmmakers have proven to be very effective. Similarly, you must identify with some of the relevant associations and guilds (never mind, I will treat this as a separate topic next week) in the industry, as a way of updating your knowledge of goings on and improving your work skills. Nollywood is a viable industry and you can make a career out of it. Catch you next week.