• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nollywood turns to banks for alternative funding

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As the recently released report on the rebasing system by Renaissance Capital forecast that the Nigerian creative industry, especially entertainment will be one of the drivers of economic growth, Nollywood, the Nigerian movie industry, is seeking alternative funding to enable it key into this growth.

The industry seems to be breaking loose from the constraints of financier-marketers that has left it with low budget movies and poor quality production since its inception 20 years ago.

Besides abandoning financing by cash-constrained movie industry marketers, new film makers are also looking beyond government funding, particularly the US$200 million grant by the Federal Government to the Nigerian movie industry sometime ago, as accessing the fund is a Herculean task.

Targeting prolific movie productions that will boost the between US$300 million and US$800 million revenue base of the movie industry, some film makers now resort to foreign partnerships for funding, while others rally round the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Nigerian

Export and Import Bank (NEXIM) for local funding to improve on production quality and boost revenue.

With the grants, an average Nollywood film production is expected to cost a minimum of N10 million with quality coming close to Hollywood and Bollywood, while distribution lapses are taken care of by efficient companies, agencies and collaborations backed by law, to ensure return on investment. Already, NEXIM Bank has so far supported the industry with a total funding of over N778.5 million, with applications for over N26 billion currently be ensuring that the industry operates in a structured manner and within global best practices/standards through capacity-building.

Zik Zulu Okafor, president, Association of Movie Practitioners (AMP), observes that the Nigerian movie industry has come of age and needs partnerships, alternative funding and exchanges that will woo sincere investments which will enable it to use its uncommon creativity to boost the Nigerian economy.

Chekwas Oleka, a film maker, says instead of waiting endlessly for the US$200 million grant by the Federal Government, movie makers now take advantage of the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment Industry Stimulation Loan Scheme of NEXIM Bank.

The multimillion naira, award-winning movie ‘Dr. Bello’, produced by Tony Abulu in the recent past was done with the aid of the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment Industry Stimulation Loan Scheme of NEXIM Bank. The bank described the movie as a success because of the huge return on investment, and so also Kunle Afolayan’s ‘The Figurine’ and ‘October 1’ both of which sold millions of copies because of the quality funding that results in one of the best produced movies in recent times.

“It is a very accessible loan, though with terms that will make you accountable, keep records and assure probity. The perfect monitoring system is intact and return on investment is assured”, Oleka said.

He said the loan enables film makers to achieve a lot in quality production, procurement of the needed equipment, hiring of skilled personnel, ensuring distribution is done with the right companies and ultimately, reducing the risk of piracy.

OBINNA EMELIKE