The recent announcement made by the Minister of Information on its proposed plan to ban the production of music video abroad is insensitive and unwarranted. Currently, the entertainment industry generates 2.5% of the country’s GDP and employs 150,000. The sector has the capacity to inject more into the economy with adequate government intervention and favourable government policy. Rather than for the government to come to the aid of hard working players in the sector in fighting the piracy scourge, it is sad that the Nigerian government is chasing shadows in the dark.
In recent times, there has been an increase in collaboration among Nigerian musicians and their foreign counterparts which have led to more exposure, technology transfer and the listing of Nigerian musicians among the best in the world. Production of music videos requires sophistication and international collaboration with foreign artists.
The entertainment industry is not exempted from the impact of globalization, as businesses are inter-connected due to the technology and ease of communication. In a situation where the economy largely relies on the importation of goods, including tooth picks, and where the majority of our infrastructure is still built by foreign expertise, would it then be out of order to say that the government is shooting itself in the foot?
One epic reply to Lai Muhammed was given by Jude Okoye of P-Square, where he came out to lambast the minister saying that government should ban medical treatment by political office holders abroad before aiming at the entertainment industry. The argument that a lot of money is lost due to other countries where music videos are being shot does not reflect the bias of the government in addressing the loss of money spent on medical bills abroad.
The Federal government should focus on more important issues such that directly impact Nigerians such as electricity, social welfare, and infrastructure, poverty alleviation through job creation and food security. If the right infrastructure is available to our musicians, they would do more videos at home and of course, that is not a matter of compulsion but of choice.
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