Buhari directs banks to fund entertainers

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Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate provision of working capital to members of the nation’s entertainment industry by the Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Export–Import Bank.

The president stated this when he received members of Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.

He expressed the hope that the capital when provided would unlock some of the trapped potentials in the entertainment industry and lead to growth.

“On funding, I have already directed the Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Export–Import Bank to engage your sector by providing affordable working capital.

“This funding will unlock some of the trapped potentials in the entertainment industry, leading to growth.

“Furthermore, I am tasking the Minister of Finance and Governor of Central Bank to ensure that these financial institutions immediately commence the engagement,’’ he said.

The president assured that his Administration was fully committed to supporting all sectors that would create jobs for the citizens while positively impacting on communities.

He, however, frowned at situations where few trouble makers had been using various media platforms to propagate negative and divisive messages.

Buhari, therefore, challenged members of the MOPPAN to use their positions as entertainers and educators to counter such negative narratives, and to propagate positive messages to their audience.

“Nigeria today is a clear example of how a few trouble makers are using various media platforms to propagate negative and divisive messages.

“In some instances, these mischievous acts have led to lives being destroyed, homes broken and communities divided.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that entertainers, regulators and censorship boards do the right thing by insisting on observation of cultural norms and protection of national interest,’’ he said.

The president also noted with delight the progress being made in the promotion of cultural ties between the Nigerian entertainment industry and their Moroccan counterpart.

“As you are aware, Nigeria in the last two years has established a mutually beneficial relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco especially in the Agricultural sector.

“In our engagements, I learnt that Morocco also has a vibrant film industry that is globally recognized as a shining example of Africa’s entertainment capability.

“Based on this, I have directed that, in addition to agriculture, Nigeria should also explore potential partnership opportunities with the Moroccan entertainment industry.

“I understand some of you were part of the various delegations, at both Federal and State levels, to have visited Morocco to explore partnership opportunities in the last 12 months,’’ he said.

Buhari also disclosed that he had since signed an instrument of ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization on audio-visual performances to boost the nation’s entertainment industry.

Earlier in his remarks, the President of the association, Malam Abdullahi Maikano, renewed the association’s determination to continue to promote ideals and values for the betterment of the society.

According to him, the association is also posed in tackling social menace and all forms of violence and security challenges in the society.

He, however, called for presidential intervention in reviving the cinema culture in the northern part of the country.

“Though the cinema culture is thriving elsewhere, the cinema culture in the northern part of this country is almost dead.

“Film practitioners in the North and by extension the entire country, will appreciate if the president gives an executive directive to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry and other relevant agencies to invest heavily in cinema and work with MOPPAN and other relevant agencies to revive the business.

“Your Excellency, once the cinema culture is revived we will create more job opportunities, produce more contents to checkmate insecurity and promote national unity and peaceful co-existence,’’ he said.

Maikano also urged the president to extend his ongoing anti-corruption crusade to the entertainment industry by way of addressing the problem of piracy in the industry. (NAN)