Okonjo-Iweala rallies Nollywood over N3bn grant

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By ANOZIE EGOLE

A Nollywood town hall meeting was convened last Saturday at the Eko Hotel and Suities, Victoria Island, Lagos, by  Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her  counteraprt in Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke  . The  purpose of the meeting was principally to address  some of the issues trailing the N3 billion  grant which President Goodluck Jonathan promised the industry on Mrach 2, 2013.

Before now, some practitioners had accused the two ministries that have been  assigned to manage the process of disbursement of failing to  consult wide enough before choosing some filmmakers into a committee. But speaking at the meeting, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala  said, she was happy that the filmmakers felt satisfied that  they were consulted for the process.

The Minister, who noted that the essence of the N3 billion grant was to encourage the filmmakers to up their game in the industry, disclosed that film distribution was identified as a major bottleneck of the industry. She promised that a large chunk of the fund will be targeted at achieving effective distribution and exhibition framework.

“We have been brain-storming on this amount that the president has put forward, and how best to use it. We have a town hall meeting of about 200 people in the industry to try and get some idea about which direction to go in terms of disbursement. Distribution was identified as the biggest bottleneck and if we can figure out how to get distribution right, we can then unleash the creative energy of the film industry.”

She stated that apart from tackling distribution problems, the fund will also be used to build capacity, encourage creativity and support production of films.  About 200 filmmakers, representing various guilds and associations were in attendance.

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