Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, members of the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) and other key stakeholders in the Nigerian film sector Wednesday met virtually and agreed to work collaboratively to protect the creative industry.
The meeting, which was moderated by filmmaker and television host, Mosunmola Abudu, popularly called Mo Abudu, provided a veritable avenue for the governor and the stakeholders in the creative industry to rob minds together for the prosperity of the industry.
CEAN representatives during the meeting expressed concerns about their sector, appealing to the governor to reopen the cinemas and open up the sector for business.
They promised to adhere strictly to the laid down Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety guidelines.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Moses Babatope expressed the desire of cinema owners to reopen for business.
According to him, “We are ready to reopen our cinemas any time today or tomorrow. Cinemas outside Lagos are already opened and they are complying with all the necessary protocols.
“We understand that your office is being careful about health and safety of Lagosians, but we also assure you that these are top considerations for us too.”
The association also requested the Sanwo-Olu administration to set up a film office whose function would include liaising with foreign investors while also serving as a major hub for the film industry in Lagos.
A film maker and one of the participants at the meeting, Omoni Oboli appealed to the governor for tax waivers, saying no one in the film industry has earned a revenue in the past six months.
“Mr. Governor, we want you to help us with some tax break. As you may be aware sir, none of us has earned any revenue in the past six months. We want you to use your good office to help our industry,” she said.
In his response, Sanwo-Olu assured the film industry experts of his administration’s readiness to protect their interest, saying he’s a new convert having seen the level of creativity and economic importance of the sector.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to work collaboratively with the creative industry, adding that his government would do all that is possible to ensure that the sector thrives in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government is mindful of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on the entertainment industry particularly the cinema sector, promising to work with the association to achieve a win-win situation.
He said: “We would work collaboratively with your industry. I am aware of the enormous challenges you face especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic. But as you know, we have to do what is right to protect the lives and property of millions of Lagosians.”
Sanwo-Olu promised to look into all the requests made and return to them in due course.