President Goodluck Jonathan has declared the creation of N3billion grant geared to support the nation’s movie industry; Nollywood.
According to the President, a programme called “Project Nollywood” has being established by his administration to “support the key components of the industry’s value chain through a dedicated grant, totaling N3billion.”
The grant will be launched in April.
The President made this known while delivering his speech at a dinner to celebration Nollywood at 20 in Lagos, on Saturday night.
The dinner was organized to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Nigerian movie to be released on home-video; ‘Living in Bondage‘, which was released in September 1992.
Giving more details about the grant, the President stated that the fund will include “grants for the best film scripts; a capacity development fund, and funds for supporting the industry’s infrastructure.”
“The scheme which will be launched in the first week of April, will be managed by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism” he added.
Dr Jonathan also made it known that he has directed both the NEXIM Bank and Bank of Industry to redouble their efforts in assisting the industry to access loans.
According to him, “NEXIM has extended about N766 million in loans to a number of companies involved in film production, cinemas, and distribution, with another scheduled N1.4 billion for projects in the industry.”
This he noted, “must be sustained.”
The President in his speech commended all stakeholders in the movie industry for making Nollywood one of Nigeria’s export items in the last two decades.
He challenged them to make Nollywood become the major export item in the next 20 years.
“Our national income is currently dominated by the oil sector. I believe that with continued hard work, Nollywood could begin to challenge the oil sector’s domination in the years ahead” he concluded.
Also pledging his support to the industry, the Governor of Akwa-Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio donated the sum of N50 million to the industry as the ‘President’s Award For Creativity.’
One of the main challenges facing the movie industry as highlighted by foremost move director Amaka Igwe at the event was the issue of piracy and poor infrastructure which the President promised to look into.
The event had in attendance numerous practitioners in Nollywood such as Genevieve Nnaji, Chidi Mokeme, Aki and Paw Paw, Olu and Joke Jacobs, Segun Arinze, Stephanie Linus, Patience Ozokwor, Zack Orji, Madam Kofo, Desmond Elliot, Chiwetalu Agu, Cynthia Amadi, Amaka Igwe, Dickson Iroegbu, Zeb and Chico Ejiro, Kunle Afolayan, Tunde Kelani, Andy Chukwu and several others.
President Jonathan also unveiled a pictorial book titled ‘Icons of Nollywood‘.