By BARBARA KALU –Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says Nigeria is ready to receive investors in the Creative Industry, having created the enabling environment for investments through favourable economic policies.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Friday when he received a delegation from Huaxia Movie Distribution Group, the second biggest movie distributors in China, on a courtesy visit to his office.
“Nigeria today is ready to receive investors from abroad in the Creative Industry because we have the enabling environment in terms of favourable economic policies. We have a very determined administration that believes in diversification. We have been preparing ourselves to sanitize the market so we are tackling the issue of piracy.
“Our programme on digitization is moving very well. So this is the right time for anybody to really come and invest in Nigeria,” he said, adding that the Chinese investors have come on the cusp of a revolution in the Creative Industry.
Alhaji Mohammed welcomed the Chinese movie group’s proposal to invest in some critical aspects of the Creative Sector, including the establishment of cinema houses, studios and exhibition centres.
“We hope that this will not just be a talk-shop. We want to be able to build on this. We want you to give us a plan of action on how you intend to cooperate with us in the area of exhibition venues, building cinema houses, especially in the rural areas. Give us a proposal on mobile cinemas and let us know what you expect of us as a government.
“We want concrete proposals from you in the area of investing in studios and also in co production. We also want to know how many Nigerian films you want to take to China,” he said.
The Minister told the Chinese delegation that the pioneer status recently granted to the creative sector will enable investors to benefit from incentives such as tax holiday and withholding tax on dividends.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive of Huaxia Movie Distribution Group, Mr. Wei Bian, said his company wants to be part of the future of Nigerian movie industry, because of its bright prospect not only in Africa but on the world stage.
He said the company had been emboldened to seek new frontiers in movie collaboration through a marching order handed down by the Chinese President for the country to look beyond Hollywood to other culturally-diverse areas like Africa, with Nigeria a prime destination.
Mr. Bian expressed delight at the rate of movie production in Nigeria which, he said, surpasses the number of movies produced in China annually.
He expressed confidence that Chinese investment in the Nigerian Creative Industry will further enhance the quality of Nigerian movies, promote cultural exchanges and open career opportunities for citizens of both countries.