By Sylvester Aroh
In recent past, creative art and entertainment were seen as unserious business ventures… Parents, friends and associates of entertainers perceived them as never-do-well in the society.
However the boom in the industry is helping to neutralize the stereotype.
The entertainment industry today is a multi-billion dollar business. The contribution of the Nollywood to the overall development of the nation’s economy cannot be overemphasized. The Nigerian film industry is second only to petroleum in terms of foreign exchange earning.
It is in realization of this and its efforts to ensure that the entertainment and art industry attains its full potentials that the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) has engaged in strategic support of stakeholders, especially in the areas of marketing, advocacy and capacity building programmes; intended to create awareness, build capacities, facilitate monetization of intellectual property as well as showcase Nigeria’s talents.
The managing director of the bank, Mr. Robert Orya, said NEXIM’s contribution will be in the areas of provision of finance and guarantees to enhance industrial capacities, as well as support the acquisition and adoption of new and clean technologies thereby ensuring competitiveness of Nigeria movies in the global market.
According to him, NEXIM extended loans to eligible companies in the creative arts and entertainment industry under the Nigerian Creative Arts and Entertainment Industry Facility Scheme. As at today, a total funding support to the industry by NEXIM comprises of N700 million and N536 million disbursed to six beneficiary clients.
The bank’s funding intervention in support of exports has created and sustained about 60,000 jobs with the breakdown showing that, in 2009, 25,000 jobs were created; and, in 2011, a total of 35,000 jobs were created. The bank’s support translated to additional developmental impact by way of foreign exchange generation to the tune of an average of US$100 million annually. In the interim, the bank is positioned to create and sustain over 15,000 direct jobs and generate estimated forex of US$300 million. This is because funding intervention would be targeted at sectors with high employment potentialities like agriculture, entertainment/creative art, etc.
According Orya, “In the last few years, NEXIM has supported the Nigerian non-oil export to the tune of N20billion. On the funding intervention in the next five years, the bank’s strategic plan projection is to support non-oil export sector to the following minimum level: from N41billion in 2012, we hope to expand to N50billion by the end of 2013; in 2014, it will increase to N63billino, while we plan to support the non oil sector with N94billion by 2015.”
A veteran actor said the intervention by NEXIM will go a long way in positioning the nation’s film industry to compete with their counterparts from across the globe.
He commended the effort of the bank at ensuring that the film industry competes favourably with other industries in terms of modern equipment.
Meanwhile, a school of thought believes that part of the N3billion the Federal Government is injecting into the entertainment industry through NEXIM should be spent in formulating policies that will safeguard creative works and ward off piracy which is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry.
*Aroh is the Northern Regional Editor of a Lagos based Research Intelligence Magazine