Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the N3 billion Film Intervention Fund which President Goodluck Jonathan pledged for the Nigerian Film Industry is not largesse to be shared out as grant or loan.
The minister who spoke at a meeting in Lagos explained that contrary to understanding among stakeholders the money is intended to set up something solid on which the industry can leverage on for advancement.
“The N3 billion which the President promised is meant to be a catalyst which will help the industry leverage other sources of funding and expertise and grow to a new level. The money will not solve every problem but it’s a good beginning. We need to use it well for the benefit of this important industry and the benefit of the country,” she said
She noted that government is committed to ensuring that the intervention fund leads to sustainable benefits for the industry adding that that the new grants will not override the earlier $200 million fund presently being disbursed by both Nigeria Export-Import Bank, (NEXIM) and Bank of Industry, (BoI).
Okonjo-Iweala addressed the Lagos gathering along with her colleague, Chief Edem Duke, Minister of Culture and Tourism. Duke told the stakeholders that they need to reach a common position on key issues affecting practitioners, stressing that hostility and bickering among film practitioners in Nollywood is an obstacle to sustainable growth of the industry.
He explained that Nollywood has become an important vehicle for the propagation of a positive image for Nigeria and that the intervention fund underscores government’s appreciation of the platform and its great potential to contribute significantly not only to the economy but also to a better understanding of Nigeria by the world.