Censors board, filmmakers seek implementation of AfCTA agreement to protect local film industry
The National Film and Video Censor Board (NFVCB) and other key players in the movie industry have called for an effective and systematic implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, as it affects the motion picture sector.
They made the call at a roundtable organised by NFVCB recently in Lagos. The Executive Director /CEO of the board, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, said that the forum was organised to address challenges, concerns and suggestions that would form the basis for trade negotiations.
Thomas said that opinions of the stakeholders, which would be submitted to Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) for implementation, have the potential to reshape the landscape of film industry.
He said that stakeholders in the industry have to consider and adopt a national position in the negotiation, as implementation of AfCFTA will open new frontiers for the sector.
“The board, as the regulator of the film industry, has been attending meetings with NOTN to extract inputs for relevant stakeholders to guide the country’s participation in the implementation of these protocols at the continental level.
“As it relates to the entertainment industry, in our own case, the movie industry, we will be looking at the real and perceived challenges, worries and suggestions that would form the basis for a national position in negotiations of the protocols.
“I challenge my colleagues to peruse fully the dangers faced by piracy and come up with measures to compliment the efforts of the board to reduce it to the barest minimum with the AfCFTA offering another challenge, “ he said.
On his part, the National Patron, Actors Guild of Nigeria and Chairman of the roundtable, Andy Boyo, said with the AfCFTA, Nollywood would grow fast when it incorporates other ‘Woods’ from Africa into one giant ‘Wood’ possibly called ‘Afrowood’.
Boyo said with the union of all the ‘woods’, investors from different countries are more likely to invest because the market would be much wider.
He added that films would then have range of stars and issues that will be transmitted in television stations across the continent to attract foreign direct investments. “This will lead to more income generation and high rate of return on investment for the investors/producers as opposed to if the income is only from one country,” he said.
Boyo, however, advised that Africa must develop its digital infrastructure to leverage upon the continent’s population resources such as Nigerian music and film, where there is already an appreciable global presence.
President Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, urged the Federal Government to put in place regulations that would protect the rights of filmmakers.
Anyiam, also founder of Africa Movie Academic Awards (AMAA), said this was necessary because Nigerians were usually confronted with the problem of mistrust, prejudice and unfriendly economic policies by some other African countries.
President, Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Mr. Victor Okhai, said that AfCFTA is a great opportunity for the film industry because Nollywood offers services and products.
Okhai added that for the industry to benefit from the agreement, it should ensure that it has visa free entry into the African countries for at least 90 or 120 days or even nine months as the case maybe.
He proposed that customs and immigration barriers should be lifted across the continent borders and filmmakers should get temporary employment permit, access to grants and subtle loans.
Okhai advised that intellectual property must be protected across board, while Africa countries must improve their networking infrastructure for easy and fast movement to and fro other business destinations.
Also, Chairman, Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), Mr. Patrick Lee, called on relevant authorities to ensure that all negations were made in the best interested of the nation’s film industry reputed to be the largest in Africa and second on the global stage.