Buhari meets MOPPAN, pledges support for entertainment industry

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday charged Nigerian entertainers to explore potential partnership opportunities with the Moroccan entertainment industry.

Mr Buhari said this when he met with members of the Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), at the presidential villa, Abuja, a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, highlighted.

MOPPAN is the professional motion picture production body operating within the 19 northern states of the federation.

Mr Buhari’s remarks came against the backdrop of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the Kano State Government signed with the Moroccan Government for the development of the film industry in the state better known as Kannywood.

The aim of the MoU, which was signed in July, was to strengthen Kannywood as a venture that has the potential for creating jobs, alleviating poverty, facilitating public enlightenment and enhancement of socialisation.

During his meeting with MOPPAN, the president noted that Nigeria has already established a mutually beneficial relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco especially in the Agricultural sector.

To this end, he suggested that Nigerian filmmakers, albeit Kannywood, tap into the potentials that the North African country had to offer entertainment-wise.

Mr Buhari said, “In our engagements, I learnt that Morocco also has a vibrant film industry that is globally recognized as a shining example of Africa’s entertainment capability.

“Based on this, I have directed that, in addition to agriculture, Nigeria should also explore potential partnership opportunities with the Moroccan entertainment industry. I have been informed of the progress made on your interactions with the Moroccan entertainment industry.”

However, the president commended film practitioners for their effort in promoting Nigeria through films as well as their impact on the world map.

“Today, millions rely on your industry when it comes to current affairs and social issues. I am informed that your output reaches up to 70 million people across many countries within and outside Africa,” Mr Buhari noted.

He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to support sectors that will create jobs for Nigerians while positively impacting Nigerian communities.

He also reminded the MOPPAN delegation of their primary responsibilities to their fans and society at large.

In addition, he urged them to ensure that their story telling is not only entertaining but also addresses serious matters affecting Nigeria.

The president also noted that a “few trouble makers are using various media platforms to propagate negative and divisive messages. In some instances, these mischievous acts have led to lives being destroyed, homes broken and communities divided.”

In his closing remarks, Mr Buhari announced that he had already directed the Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Export – Import Bank to engage the sector by providing affordable working capital.

This funding, he said, would unlock some of the trapped potentials in the entertainment industry, leading to growth, the statement highlighted.

“Furthermore, I am tasking the Minister of Finance and Governor of Central Bank to ensure that these financial institutions immediately commence the engagement.”

Mr Buhari has been interacting with Nigerian entertainers at various forums lately. On Wednesday, the president and his wife, Aishat, hosted top Nigerian actors and musicians at the launch of his 2019 campaign platform tagged ‘Together Nigeria’ in Abuja.

The event was part of the campaign strategy for Mr Buhari who is seeking re-election in February 2019.

The Buhari administration has been engaging the creative industry stakeholders, all in a bid to create an enduring structure, which will in turn, make regulation seamless.

Three years after, the dividends are yet to be felt in the industry.

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