=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === Since mounting the saddle of leadership as the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has never hidden his desire to create an enabling environment for the Entertainment and Tourism sectors to thrive and become globally competitive.
This desire took on a more practical form on Wednesday when the governor inaugurated the Committee on Film Production Empowerment at the State House, Marina to fund youth creativity and entertainment activities in the State, consequent to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entertainment and tourism in the State.
The nine-member committee, comprising five industry practitioners and four Government officials, has Richard Mofe-Damijo, a veteran filmmaker and Nollywood star, as its chairman. members of the committee have been mandated to help actualize the Governor’s vision of contributing to youth creativity and entrepreneurship in the sector.
Other industry veterans in the committee include ace cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, a Film and Television Producer, Ms. Mo Abudu, movie director, Mr. Kunle Afolayan, and Mrs. Peace Anyim-OsigweThe Government officials in the committee are Adebukola Agbaminoja, Ferdinand Tinubu, Taju Olajumoke and Mrs Funke Avoseh (Secretary).
The committee’s inauguration came months after the Governor set aside N1 billion seed capital to unlock the potential in hospitality and tourism businesses.The scheme is to support creative ideas of movie and entertainment producers who are constrained by funds to bring their concepts into reality. Applicants are to be supported with funding based on the financial plans of their projects. The grant may be as much as N40 million for each beneficiary.
Entertaiment and Tourism form a key pillar of the Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda being implemented to drive inclusive growth and socio-economic development across sectors of the State’s economy. Sanwo-Olu described the entertainment and tourism as enablers of growth with huge potential for employment opportunities. The sector, he said, is critical to achieving his administration’s youth development objectives, given its high rate of absorption of creative young people in its supply chains.
Sanwo-Olu said the committee had been given the authority to disburse the support grants to movie producers who have fresh ideas and those whose stories are yet to be completed.He charged the committee to work out its engagement modalities and administrative responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries of the scheme.
Chairman of the committee, Richard Mofe-Damijo, expressed profound gratitude to the governor for charging the members of the committee with such a crucial assignment, assuring that they would do all within their capacity to help transform the vision of the governor into reality.
AGENDA WATCHDOG wishes to commend this novel support by a state government for the entertainment sector, which has been long overdue. It will, no doubt help elevate the status of the country’s thriving creative sector to a level where it can compete with the likes of Hollywood and Bollywood by bridging the funding impediments that have limited the quality of output from this sector.
Also, the scheme will galvanize the creative industry into a job creating hub, helping create create entrepreneurs that will use their creativity to enhance the market shares of the sector, help industry practitioners to raise capacity, support development of local content and discourage the action of taking proceeds from the industry out of the country, thereby denying local practitioners the benefits of their talents.
Again, the intervention would galvanise the private sector into committing more funding to the industry for accelerated growth, ultimately unlocking the potential of the Lagos coastline and turn it into a destination of choice in African tourism.
This initiative is worthy of commendation and emulation by all and sundry, most especially the federal and other state governments as it will serve as a means of helping boost the creative sector, create jobs and check youth restiveness.