The federal government at the weekend said it has packaged a special programme known as Project Nollywood with a grant of N3 billion to aide the film industry scale beyond the achievements it has in the past 20 years in the country.
This is just as Akwa Ibom State Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors’ forum, Godswill Akpabio has declared that he has endowed the Goodluck Jonathan Prize for the best actors and actresses in Nollywood.
President Goodluck Jonathan who announced the N3billion grant made available to the industry at a dinner to mark 20 years of Nollywood at the State House, Marina, Lagos, noted that it was part of his administration’s transformation agenda in the industry.
According to him, Nollywood would one day exceed the oil sector which the country depends heavily on if the special programme which will be flagged off in April is handled properly.
Jonathan said, “I assure you that this administration will continue to give Nollywood every support and assistance to take the Nigerian movie industry to greater height of success. I invited the private sector to this dinner because I believe that they can also support the efforts to further develop the overall value chain of the industry.
“Encouraged by the feedback we have received from you on our administration’s support for Nollywood, we have further designed a programme known as Project Nollywood to support the key components of the industry’s value chain through a dedicated grant totaling N3billion.
“It will include capacity development fund and funds to support the industry’s infrastructure. The scheme which will be launched in the first week of April, will be managed by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.”
The President added that he has already directed NEXIM Bank and the Bank of Industry to put in their best in investing in the industry by way od loans.
Nollywood, Jonathan observed, had made remarkable achievement within the 20 years period it has existed, which stakeholders must not rest on their laurels to identify with.
He stated further: “It is always said that getting to the top may be hard, but remaining there may be more challenging. Our producers, script writers, actors, actresses and others who work in the movie industry must continue to work with zeal to further improve on the quality and content of their production”.
He said the Nollywood industry has been offering employment opportunities to thousands of Nigerians directly or indirectly.
The President said although Nigeria’s national income is currently dominated by oil sector, he believed that Nollywood could challenge the sector.
He promised that the Federal Government would work with stakeholders to tackle the problems of infrastructure and piracy facing the industry, noting that if laws were required achieve this, members of the National Assembly would assist.
Meanwhile, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has started what he called an endowment of the Goodluck Jonathan Prize for the best actors and actresses in Nollywood.
The chairman of the People’s Democratic Party Governors’ Forum announced that he will commit the sum of N50 million for the award, even as he asked the leadership of the industry to come up with the group that will coordinate the award.
Akpabio said, “I am the chairman of the newest forum in the arena of politics, the PDP Governors’ Forum. The first set of disciples of the President. We felt we must come together and rally support for the President, especially for his uncommon transformation agenda. Nollywood has come of age at 20. When the history of the success of Nollywood is being told, President Jonathan’s name will be mentioned.
“No leader in the country has supported creativity like Jonathan. There is no way you can ever fail as a President of the country because you never discriminate. We won the African Cup of Nations during your tenure. You may end up winning two world cups because the boys will be improving.
“You invest in gas and power. East-West Road will soon be delivered. Your enemies will never laugh at you; whatever you do, you will succeed because you are a child of destiny”.