By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, on Monday explained why the Federal Government decided to reform and commercialise the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).
According to him, it is to address the agency’s teething challenges and reposition it for improved performance.
He made this known on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating a Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Corporation.
Lai said the federal government has engaged the services of a Business Development Consultant to conduct a due diligence on the corporation and sector and recommend a strategy that is suitable for its reform and commercialisation.
The Minister said the NFC has not been able to meet up with its statutory functions.
Also, he noted that since its establishment, the Corporation has faced several challenges including inability to engage in commercial film production.
The minister said the law establishing NFC limits its operational functions such that it cannot leverage on the private sector-led growth of the industry.
He added that the National Film Institute (NFI), a unit in NFC, is not empowered to leverage its technical and professional capabilities for commercial purposes and revenue generation.
Mohammed said the NFC’s civil service structure comes with bureaucratic limitations, budgetary constraints and operational inefficiency.
“A critical look at the existing organizational structure shows that NFC is over-bloated and needs to be restructured to reflect its purpose.
“NFC has obsolete equipment, with some dating back to colonial times,” he said.
The minister noted that the reform of the corporation will help in the efforts of the government to reposition the nation’s film industry, Nollywood, and make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa.
Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said Nollywood is the second largest employer of Labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.
The minister noted that Nollywood could perform better if the NFC is restructured and needed infrastructure enabling environment are provided.
He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.