The institution of a $1million venture capital scheme to boost the Nigerian creative industry is a step in the right direction. Although the amount is small, it is better than nothing. It is important that the industry is given more impetus through adequate funding, considering its contribution to job creation and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This industry, without support from the Federal Government, is said to contribute 1.42 percent to the GDP, while the well funded oil sector contributes 11 percent.
Reports say the creative industry has the capacity to create one million jobs in three years. This, perhaps, explains why government is giving it more attention. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who dwelt much on this at the opening of a two-day event on Creative Industry Financing in Lagos, announced that five people have volunteered to invest $50,000 each in the industry. He also said that 20 people, each investing $50,000, will expectedly make-up the required $1million.
It is gratifying that the Federal Government is collaborating with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the CNN to boost the creative industry, beginning with the nation’s film industry. Under the initiative, the film industry will be positively deployed to project various aspects of Nigerian culture and tourism. Mohammed reiterated that the various Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Bank of Industry and the British Council are part of the government’s efforts to transform the creative industry to a creative economy. He explained further that the $1million will serve as seed money for young and talented Nigerians to set up businesses in the creative industry. More support for this industry is expected to boost creative talents among the youths.
We commend the Federal Government and those who have made financial commitments to this initiative. Nigerian hip hop music, fashion, and the nation’s fast growing film industry, Nollywood, are all doing well and have great potentials for growth. If the nation’s creative industry is well funded, it can create more employment and boost the economy.
We call on the private sector to invest more capital in this industry. With more funding and support, the industry can be streamlined and developed. However, the standards of the products of our creative industry need more polishing. Nollywood can do with more qualitative products, good stories, better casting and beautiful sceneries.
The technical quality of our films needs great improvement. The present preoccupation with stories revolving around rituals and occultism in most of our films is predictable, unedifying and unentertaining. Our films should tell our stories positively. The sound tracks in our films should also be improved. The hip hop music producers should eschew lewd and vulgar lyrics, as well as nudity in their musical videos. Piracy is inimical to the creative industry. Government should check this monster for the industry to thrive.
Those in the fashion industry should improve on the quality, style and finishing of their products. We need films, music and fashion that will help to showcase our national image. Our creative industry products should promote our diverse cultural heritage and history. We need to build a film village where Nollywood actors can ply their trade and tourists can visit as they do Hollywood in California, United States.
Generally, government should create a conducive environment for the creative industry to thrive. It should also promote reading culture and creative writing. We also need to institute a national book fair that can compete with any in Europe and America. A reading nation is one that has potential for growth and development. For our creative industry to contribute more to our GDP and create more jobs, it should be properly funded and organised.