ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS: A Word For The President
by Seun Apara (www.eraveng.com)
In recent years, the level of participation of government, both at the state and the federal levels in the entertainment industry is quite commendable compared to the past when it wasn’t even considered by any arm of government. The government constantly needs to foster the growth of the industry by investing in it because the Nigerian entertainment industry is economically viable but its immense potentials have remained untapped.
One of the roles of a government in any society is to strive for growth and development in every area and the role entertainment plays in developing the tourism potentials of a country cannot be over emphasized. There should be a direct communication pathway between the government and the entertainment industry.
In as much as the entertainment industry requires more support from government to attain its full potentials, we must also state that the corporate bodies also need to support the continuous growth of Nigeria entertainment industry.
Mr. President, a lot is needed to be done in the areas of big time investments such as establishing a properly structured pan Nigeria entertainment products distribution network to ward of pirates, CD replication and encoding plants which are highly capital intensive but guarantee high returns on investments. This is because projects of this magnitude cannot be singlehandedly undertaken by individuals and the very few who may have the required resources prefer the already crowded oil and gas industry, hotel business and the likes.
India depends majorly on her entertainment industry and is actually generating more revenue which has come in handy as a driver of its developing economy. If we can invest in the entertainment industry, it will be a good alternative to our crude oil. Just as the government has a vital role to play in making the entertainment industry economically viable and creating an enabling environment; the corporate bodies equally have a very big role to play as the industry is suffering from sponsorship of major events, distribution and Film funding.
Currently in Nigeria, the only Ministry directly or indirectly in charge of entertainment industry is the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. There is no ministry created for entertainment and other related business. To make Nigeria a tourism destination, valuable entertainment platform s are often required and deployed to further attract revellers and tourists to the country.
Like I always agitated for, the Nigerian Ministry of Culture and Tourism needs to take a cue from the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment of Jamaica by establishing Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB). The main objectives of the Entertainment Advisory Board are to strengthen public-private partnership to maximize contribution of the entertainment industry to economic and social development, provide advice to the Ministry regarding key issues and strategies and in particular, the development of an Entertainment industry policy and facilitate the engagement of entertainment industry stakeholders in the policy-making process.
The Ministry is expected to promote dialogue and cooperation between the private and public sectors for the development and implementation of policies conclusive to the creation of an enabling environment. It must also provide opportunities for creative practitioners to participate in international markets to expose local talents and promote the entertainment products; raise the level of awareness and appreciation of Nigerian Culture as an entertainment product, to develop and foster synergies among Tourism & Entertainment Sectors and to facilitate institutional strengthening and capacity building.
As regards to the events, carnivals are good and but let’s develop more music festivals that will sell the real Nigerian culture to the world and not adopted cultures. The Ministry of Tourism, year in and year out does not have a plan for the growth of entertainment business in Nigeria except for Abuja Carnival and the likes. Major entertainments events are dying because of lack of support and sponsorship. The ones that still hold annually struggle amidst all odds to make it happen.
Many of these events by now should have been adopted as National Events but the ministry has been carrying on like it is none of their business. It is noteworthy here too that one of the biggest jazz festivals around the world, Joy of Jazz Festival in South-Africa was supported by the Ministry of Arts and Culture in its early days. . The South-Africa Tourism Board capitalizes on this every year to expose the tourism potentials of the country to visitors.