9 February 2016

Nigeria: Nollywood Has the Potential to Be an Alternative to Crude Oil

Actors and other stakeholders in the Nigerian movie industry, a.k.a Nollywood, said on Tuesday that the industry is a potential alternative to the ailing oil sector.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, the stakeholders stressed that Nigeria could build vibrant economy with entertainment.

According to them, if properly harnessed, Nollywood has the potential to sustain the nation's economy and replace oil as the mainstay.

Obi Okolie, a Nollywood actor and lecturer of Theatre Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka said government should give priority attention to entertainment to rip its abundant potentials.

"Now we are no longer getting what we used to get from oil.

"Nollywood can effectively take the place of oil if the government realises and gives adequate attention to its development.

"Here is an industry that is rated second globally, so why can't we use that advantage to build our economy to that level also," he said.

Okolie said that Nollywood was already a major employer of labour and contributor to the Nation's GDP, therefore government and private investors needed to build on its successes.

"People who would have remained in the labour market got employment in Nollywood, and it has the capacity of replicating that again and again.

"An average of 200 people gets involved in the process of making a single film, and all of them are paid.

"Our content is rich, and the talents are available, all we need is funding and enabling environment," he said.

Also speaking, Bruno Iwuoha, an actor and producer, noted that the sector needed deliberate effort by government at all level to channel resources towards it like other sectors of the economy.

"How many State and Local Governments have provided funding for Nollywood in their locality?

"Government at all level and investors should wake up to invest in the industry.

"Besides oil, the next major source of income and employment is the entertainment sector," he stressed.

The President of the Association of Movie Producers in the FCT, Ms Imaobong Abia, said that building a solid economy outside oil would be realisable if relevant stakeholders invest in Nollywood.

"There are so many corporate bodies and individuals with huge investments in oil and related business, let them diversify into the movie industry.

"We have the human capital, so let them provide the financial resources so we can build a very strong and virile economy together," she said.

Abia however identified piracy as one of the challenges facing the sector that needed adequate attention by government.

"Piracy is an economic sabotage to people's means of livelihood.

"The government should tackle the menace with the same vigour with which it is fighting corruption," she urged.

NAN reports that Nollywood, is the second largest movie industry in the world behind India's Bollywood. It has an estimated one million people directly or indirectly working in the industry.

In 2014, Nollywood reportedly contributed more than 1.4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) representing N7.2 billion of Nigeria's economy.

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