From Kenneth Udeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) led by it’s Managing Director, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate to host the Zuma Film Festival.
The Zuma film festival was established by the NFC established in line with its mandate to develop and promote the film industry.The festival features a series of events that serves as a platform for the African Film industry in line with Nigeria’s status as the largest film market in Africa.
During the signing ceremony held at conference room office of the Minister of State (FCT) ,Ramatu Tijani Aliyu who was represented at the signing ceremony by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, commended the idea behind the collaboration which was initiated in 2019, describing it as a Milestone, stating that asides revenue generation the Festival will create employment opportunities for youths in the FCT and reduce crime rate.
Speaking on behalf of the FCT Minister, Olusade emphasised that the partnership hosting of the Zuma Film Festival will boost the tourism as well as entertainment potentials of the Nation’s capital.
He said ; “The creative industry is a significant component of our economy. In 2020 statistics has it that the creative industry contributed 730 Billion naira to the Nigerian GDP this is equivalent to about 1.8 Billion US Dollars. If you consider this contribution of this creative industry alone ; you know its significance. Because we have been planning this for a very long time.
“On the assumption of President Buahri in office, he assigned MDA’s with priorities and mandates that must be achieved. Included in their mandate is the need to improve or initiate strong partnership with the private sector for massive creation of employment.
“The Federal Government can’t employ everyone but one way to achieve this is through a partnership that works like what we are witnessing today. Besides revenue generation there are other beneficial areas of this partnership which are immense, during the week of this Festival crime rates will reduce because a lot of youths will be engaged .
Also speaking on Funding of the Festival Olusade mentioned that the funding for the Festival has been included in the FCTA’s 2022 budget.
In his address Dr. Chidia highlighted reasons behind the collaboration saying that it will shape the creative economic activities within the nation’s capital, Abuja, and the country at large.
According to Chidia, the collaboration which was first proposed by the NFC in 2019 is expected to generate $5 million (₦2.5 billion) in direct revenue from merchandising, in addition to tax revenue in excess of $2 million (₦1 billion). He added that the revenues can be achieved through interest and traffic generation for increased film production shoot within the FCT.
The NFC Boss also announced that the 2021 ZUMA Film Festival, earlier scheduled to hold between 1st – 7th December, 2021 has been shifted to 2nd – 9th April, 2022.
“It has long been our desire for NFC, in line with our aspiration to use the Zuma film festival to galvanize the creative sector of the nation’s economy. Also, it is predicated on our patriotic commitment to situate Abuja (Centre of Unity) and Nigeria within the comity of film production cities/ nations.
“Today’s designation of Abuja as the official host city of Nigeria’s official and foremost film festival is in line with best global practices. We have once more demonstrated our collective will as a government to sustain the much needed synergy in efforts and actions, Chidia said.
He emphasised that the journey of the Zuma film festival since its debut, and a total rebrand has been steady and progressive. Maduekwe said the aim of NFC since he assumed office to ensure sustained improvement has seen the film festival grow in content and participation. He pointed out that domestic and foreign participation, physical and virtual, including the volume of collaborative partnerships have equally increased over time.
Shedding more light on the benefits of the partnership deal, Chidia expressed it will bring Zuma Film Festival deeper into the global film festival platform of the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FILM PRODUCERS ASSOCIATIONS (FIAPF), a global organization representing the film production community, and key operator for film festival worldwide. He said the Zuma Film Festival has continued to attract more domestic and international attention and attendance. The NFC Boss urged other government agencies and parastatals to join the Nigerian Film Corporation to progress. According to hin in the nearest future city of Abuja can be comparable with cities like Los Angeles – California and Asian Tiger cities and Durban in South Africa.
In area of Job creation Chidia unveiled the plans of the NFC to escalate the conversation of establishing a film entrepreneurial hub in FCT.
“This entrepreneurial hub when established will train over 2000 youths on quarterly basis from the FCT in film business and entrepreneurship with direct positive impact on youth unemployment.
“ZUMA film festival creates direct and auxiliary jobs within the period it is held annually. One of its major outcome and output is in supporting federal governments’ policy of creating jobs to lift over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. This joint collaboration therefore can be viewed as further stimulating economic growth by contributing to job creation and poverty reduction.
In his concluding remarks Dr. Chidia thanked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello , Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu for considering and accepting the invitation for the partnership, and the formal designation of ABUJA as the official host city for Zuma Film Festival.
Chidia also thanked President Mohammadu Buhari and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Hon. Minister of Information & Culture, for their support.