PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has promised to move the entertainment industry from the Ministry of Information to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, if he returns to power after the March 28 presidential election.
He also promised to tackle the lingering issue of piracy which has become a major problem in the nation’s entertainment industry.
Jonathan made these promises, while speaking, weekend, at an interactive session with Nollywood stars in Lagos, tagged, “ Showbiz Interactive with Mr. President.”
Answering questions from the entertainers at the event, Jonathan said, if the nation’s entertainment industry stakeholders believe that separating the industry from the Ministry of Information is what they want, he will definitely help them to achieve the dream.
“I can move the entertainment industry from Ministry of Information to Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Definitely, it is possible. Before now, each department of government was under one ministry. Ministry of Water Resources was under Ministry of Agriculture. But we separated them just as Communication and Technology was separated from the Ministry of Information. At a time, the Ministry of Tourism and National Orientation was separated from the Ministry of Information. So, if the entertainment industry believes that it will be good for them, we will do that,”Jonathan promised.
Also, speaking on why he is very passionate about the Entertainment Industry, Mr. President who was accompanied to the event by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, Chairman PDP’s Governors Forum, Governor Godswill Akpabio, and other top government officials said, the entertainment industry like sports is very important not just at the national level but also, at the local level.
He said, “We are yet to exploit the potentials we have in the industry as I am seeing a big potential in it. In Bayelsa State, we have started promoting the African Movie Academic Award, AMAA.”
You will see that if we encourage the entertainment industry, they will do better. Before this time, the entertainment industry and Nollywood were not contributing much but now, even in terms of contributing to our GDP. They are presently contributing up to 1.4 to our GDP. So, why I am passionate about them is that it will create job opportunities for Nigerian youths. These are the reasons we need to encourage the industry and I think ,we will even make it bigger as we progress.”
On the issue of piracy, Jonathan said, it’s needful to review the laws to ensure that the sanctions are commensurate with the offences, stressing that the punishment meted to pirates in the country are quite light. He, however, called for serious attention to be given to the problem of piracy, blaming, the security agencies for not living up to their billing in this regard.
“I think the fight is not for government alone, it is for the society . What I am promising the industry is that we will work together in the fight against piracy. What the government will do is to work with you and people from the private sector. It is even better to encourage people to build more cinemas. I believe that if we have public places where people will go to watch movies, piracy will be reduced.
But in terms of combating piracy, it is like arm robbery. It is a crime with proper intervention but people are still committing robbery. Just like I told you, we must continue to work together, we must continue to use superior intelligence and technologies. It will be difficult for you to say that we have all it takes to wipe out piracy.
The key thing is working with people who are in the industry at least they will know more about the industry. They will work with the government and we will continue to suppress piracy. I am promising the industry that we will set up a small technical committee to work with the government because there are certain things that those in the government will not know. So, we need private sector to work with us,” he assured.
Anchored by veteran actor, Richard Mofe Damijo, RMD and comedian AY, the event was graced by dignitaries including Jim Ovia and Tony Elumelu. Nollywood stars in attendance were Ibinabo Fiberesima, Segun Arinze, Yul Edochie, Monalisa Chinda, Ali Baba, Ini Edo, Mike Ezuruonye among others.