President Goodluck Jonathan has said some federal ministries are headed by people who do not have a deep knowledge of their parastatals. President Jonathan made the observation on Monday at a stakeholders’ meeting with the culture and entertainment sector tagged ‘An Evening with President Jonathan’ held at the Eko Hotel and Suite, Victoria Island, Lagos. According to him, government is a bit too far from the culture and entertainment industry to know what its challenges are. “It is an industry we don’t take seriously. We have a lot to gain from the industry economically if government can support the sector. It is a sector through which we can earn foreign exchange. The government is far from the industry and those who should bridge the gap (heads of parastatals) are not doing so,” he said. The gathering also offered stakeholders in the sector the opportunity to bare their minds on the poor state of an industry plagued by piracy and non implementation of copyright laws. Bond Emeruwa, president, Directors Guild of Nigeria explained that the movie industry needs a revised Nigerian Film Image policy (which is before the National Assembly waiting to be reviewed and passed) that will make the industry to be more regulated. In addition, Amaka Igwe, filmmaker, decried the non existence of distribution network which has given pirates a upper hand in the entertainment industry. “We have 85 percent piracy in our industry. It is a major pain which has overpowered the Nigerian Copyright Commission. The present Nigerian environment does not recognise intellectual property rights. In a sane environment, filmmakers should be able to get loans by using a collection of their works as collateral.” On its part Society for Nigerian Artists (SNA) advocated for a national gallery of art where works of contemporary artists will be displayed. “We have sent the National Gallery Act to the National Assembly,” said Uwa Usen, spokesperson for SNA. After the first and second reading, we have not heard anything about it. We are requesting the bill should be passed. We will also like Nigerian artists in the leadership positions to influence policies that concern the creative art industry.”
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