BY ESE DIBEBI
The Federal Government, through its Minister for Information Lai Mohammed, has said it will work with relevant bodies to fight the theft of intellectual property in the country.
In his first round table with Nollywood stakeholders tagged “Redefining the Nollywood Strategy”, Lai Mohammed said the government was also planning an endowment for the industry.
He informed the gathering that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the relevant agencies to work towards reducing piracy to the minimum. Mohammed expressed the need to tackle the menace by having “a regulatory direction, domesticate most of the international conventions on piracy, review and strengthen existing copyright law as well as make the punishment for copyright more stringent so as to discourage pirates.”
He also said, “This administration has made available the sum of N500 billion naira to be accessed by creative people like you as well as artisans, market women, unemployed youths and others.”
The Minister also expressed his readiness to convene a review meeting of the Nigerian Film Policy in order to fast-track the setting up of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) that will address most of the issues that have bedevilled growth in the industry, including distribution, regulation, financing, incentives for investors who sponsor the arts, visibility for artistes in matters concerning their trades, establishment of a film fund and how the fund will continuously be funded as well as the structural deficiency in the sector.
The Minister said that as part of the ongoing restructuring of the agencies under the ministry, the regulatory bodies in the ministry would be infused with purposeful, practical, dynamic and experienced leadership to drive the agencies in line with global best practices.
In his response on behalf of the motion picture industry, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, chairman of the Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria said, “You have enumerated everything that is bedevilling the industry these past years, even proffering solutions before hearing us.”
Lancelot Imasuen, Kate Henshaw, Ralph Nwadike and Peace Anyiam-Osigwe were among those present at yesterday’s event in Lagos.