The National Film and Video Censor Board (NFVCB) and film makers on Saturday submitted proposals for implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as it affects the Nigerian film industry.
The positions were submitted at a roundtable with film industry stakeholders on AfCTA /Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) organised by NFVCB in Lagos.
The Executive Director of the board, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, said that the forum was organised to address perceived challenges, worries and suggestions that would form the basis for the trade negotiations.
Thomas said that opinions submitted had the potentials to reshape the landscape of the film industry as it is the stakeholders’ input that the board would incorporate for submission to NOTN for implementation.
He noted that film industry stakeholders needed to consider and adopt a national position in the negotiation as implementation of AfCFTA means that all its doors would be fully opened .
According to him, major players across the continent must also be carried along.
“The board as the regulator of film industry has been attending meetings with the NOTN to extract inputs for relevant stakeholders to guide the country’s participation in the implementation of these protocols at the continental level.
“I challenge you my colleagues to peruse fully the dangers faced by piracy and come up with measures to compliment the efforts of the board to reduce it to the bearest minimum with the AfCFTA offering another challenge,” he said.
National Patron, Actors Guild of Nigeria, Mr Andy Boyo, said with AfCFTA, Nollywood would grow fast when it incorporates other ‘Woods’of Africa into one giant ‘Wood’ possibly called ‘Afrowood’.
Boyo said the union of all the ‘woods’, would attract investors from all the different countries to invest.
He added that films would then have range of stars and transmitted in television stations across the continent.
“This will lead to more income generation and high rate of return on investment for the investors/producers as opposed to if the income is only from one country,” he said.
According to him, with the AfCFTA agreement, Africa must develop its digital infrastructure to leverage upon the continent’s population like the Nigerian music and film which already have an appreciable global presence.
The patron noted that the regulation of the activities of businesses like Google and Facebook into AfCFTA would give local alternatives a chance to develop.
Mrs Peace Anyiam, National President, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), urged the government to put in place regulations that would protect the rights of film makers.
Anyiam, also Founder of Africa Movie Academic Awards (AMAA), said this was necessary because Nigerians were usually confronted with the problem of mistrust, jealousy, aggression and price inflation by other African countries.
“Film regulators must protect the film industry before the total opening of the AfCFTA, dot all the lines and work out restrictions before the final opening of the agreement.
“The regulator must protect us the way the other African countries are protecting their actors because if they don’t, it will kill the film industry,” she said.
National President, Director Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Mr Victor Okhai, said that AfCFTA was a great opportunity for the film industry because Nollywood offered services and products.
Okhai said that for the industry to benefit from the agreement, it should ensure visa free entry into the African countries for at least 90 days.
He proposed that customs and immigration barriers should be lifted across the continent borders, while film makers should get temporary employment permit, access to grants and subtle loans.
Okhai advised that intellectual property must be protected across board, while African countries must improve its networking infrastructure for easy and fast movement to and from other business destinations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria joined 53 countries in Africa on Jan. 1, 2021 to set in motion the world’s biggest trade bloc that will speed up easy and efficient intra-continental trade.
The trade is marked by few restrictions and less complex checks of goods across national borders and ports of entry.
Nigeria was one of the last African countries to sign the AfCFTA agreement, with President Muhammadu Buhari raising concerns that goods produced outside Africa could be dumped in Nigeria through other (West) African countries who allow largely unrestricted imports.
The president consequently signed the agreement after necessary consultations with economic stakeholders.
The AfCTA plans to establish a one-Africa market, boost competitiveness among African countries, deepen economic integration.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA is projected to lift intra-African trade by as much as 52 per cent by 2022.(NAN)