This has been generating criticism from many quarters, especially among Nigerian artistes. Notable among them are Peter Okoye of PSquare and the veteran comedian Ali Baba. They are accusing the government of being bias and hypocritical, because it fails to address the overseas medical treatment by political office holders and overseas education for their children in this manner. Government should remove the speck in their eyes before trying to take out the beam in other people’s eyes. Entertainers are saying, it wouldn’t have been good business, going to South Africa for production if the kind of enabling environment obtainable there is available here.
Although, government’s decision was presented in good fate, which is to develop the entertainment industry and encourage local production. This would result in more jobs and retention of investments in the country. But the big question is, what plan is in place to address the causes for preferring the production of entertainment contents abroad to the one fully made in Nigeria? We could as well ask, what plan is in place to compel Government officials to patronize made in Nigeria when they need medical check-up or treatment and education for their children?
Challenges of Made in Nigeria Contents
Suitable Locations and Amenities
While there are several natural locations in Nigeria where videos could be shot, the level of amenities to make those locations accessible, suitable, and pleasant for such purposes is surprisingly poor. These include good road network, electricity, architectural aesthetics among others.
Unfriendly Business Environment
Taxation, insurance, required technology, and cost of capital are so exorbitant. Talk of safety and security, unless producers on their own arrange for protection from hoodlums, land grabbers, kidnappers, and robbers, the production is in jeopardy. In fact touts, police, local government officers, community chiefs and the likes would terrorize you till you part with un-official taxes.
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Lack of Investment in the Industry
In terms of film studios, locations, cinemas, hotels and resort centers, South Africa has positioned itself as an alternative to California by attracting huge investments globally. Therefore, making films has become relatively affordable on their soil. Consequently, budgeting for a project and executing it become easier, compared to a place where you’re overwhelmed with endless indirect costs. It’s a world apart! Investors will not take their resources to a place where there is no development and enabling environments.
Shortage of Expertise
If you were a top class educator and the children of the well-to-dos would rather go abroad for education, would you want to stay here to teach? If you were an excellent medical practitioner and your government leaders would rather go abroad for treatment, would you want to stay here to practice? There is no incentive for experts to stay here to practice or train upcoming generations. So, it should not be incredible that a country of 180 million brains is bereft of expertise across industries. Which is why anyone who can afford the best of bests has to look overseas, otherwise the second best, made in Nigeria is available within the country.
Mr. Lai Mohammed and FGN should therefore be less equivocal while posing to care about the economy by dealing with the matters of change from the top, with sincerity, and with equity. There is absolutely nothing better than made in Nigeria for Nigerians, but everyone must compellingly be involved, especially those at the top must model it indeed.
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