The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has revealed that three legislative bills will be sent to the National Assembly as part of efforts to re-position the Creative Industry for optimal performance through legislative and regulatory framework.
Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this in Abuja while receiving officials of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, who paid him a courtesy visit at his office.
“We are putting three bills before the National Assembly,” said the Minister.
The first is the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the second is MOPICON (Motion Picture Council of Nigeria) because we believe that we must create that enabling environment for the creative industry and the third is the bill for the Establishment of the Tourism Development Fund,” he said.
Mohammed said that the current situation where artistes find it difficult to access funds to finance the projects was not encouraging for a sector that is one of Nigeria’s most vibrant.
He added that the enactment of the NEA will open new vista of opportunity for players in the entertainment industry to access funds that will enhance their performance.
The minister further explained that the MOPICON bill will provide a self-regulatory framework to guide and standardize the activities of the nation’s movie industry, while the Tourism Development Fund will help in providing funds for training and project development, among others.
Mohammed identified piracy as the biggest challenge facing the creative industry, advising COSON to partner with other stakeholders in the industry to form a Task Force that will work along with the government to check the menace of pirates.
On the issue of payment of royalty for music being played by government-owned broadcast stations, the Minister insisted that the existing agreement between COSON and the broadcasters should be respected for the mutual benefit of both parties.
He acknowledged that the Private Copy Levy is a veritable instrument that will guard against the infringement of intellectual property right but emphasized that the law has to be reviewed to conform with current realities.
Mohammed said his ministry and that of Justice, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion as well as COSON need to come together and take a second look at the Private Copy Levy with a view to operationalizing the law in line with current realities.
He said COSON also needs to engage with the telecommunications companies to agree on how the two parties can mutually benefit from the intellectual property of the musicians being used by the companies.
COSON President Tony Okoroji praised the Minister for being a quintessential public servant and expressed confidence in the present administration’s political will to implement policies that will grow the creative and entertainment industry.
He said COSON is on an advocacy to put value to Nigeria’s music in view of the widespread infringement on intellectual property right by broadcast stations, telecommunications companies and online platforms.
Also at the meeting were the Directors General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Kawu Modibbo; Nigerian Television Authority, Yakub Ibn-Mohammed and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Mansur Liman.