The Nigerian Music Industry Coalition has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to give immediate marching orders to the organizations and individuals managing the Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund to take urgent steps to ensure that the fund begins to have impact on the employment situation in the creative industries in Nigeria.
Addressing the media on ‘The State of the Nigerian Music Industry’ as part of the events of NO MUSIC DAY 2012, marked on September 1, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, said, “Once again, on the critical issue of funding, there is growing disappointment and speculating conclusion that both the Growth in Employment in States Fund (GEMS) and the Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund announced by President Goodluck Jonathan two years ago, which created so much initial buzz, will end up as another big disappointment and seen as sad political gimmicks.
“As we mark No Music Day today, we call on President Jonathan to order the Bank of Industries (BOI), the Nigerian Export & Import Bank (NEXIM), the Federal Ministry of Commerce & Investments and everyone connected with the funds to do what is necessary to make sure that they begin to have impact on the industry and help to create the badly needed employment. Presently, the more we look, the less we see”
Chief Okoroji lamented that the managers of the fund do not appear to fully understand that the fund is meant to solve specific problems and targeted at people who cannot ordinarily access finance from the traditional financial institutions.
He said the requirements, conditions and bottlenecks that have been placed before the fund can be accessed are such that only a very tiny fraction of true practitioners in the creative sector can ever meaningfully dream of having access to the fund.
In the words of Chief Okoroji, “As an industry, we have sought to engage the banks with ideas on how the funds can be disbursed with critical checks put in place to ensure high repayment of the loans by the average practitioner. We understand our industry better than them but I do not get the impression that they are truly interested in listening to us.
“They are only listening to themselves and unfortunately, they cannot think out of the box. They are stuck in traditional banking. Sadly, the money will end up not with those for whom the money was meant and in a few years, our industry will be blamed for improper use of the ’help’ offered by the government’
According to Chief Okoroji, the theme of this year’s No Music Day celebration, “A World without Music”, is aimed at engaging the Nigerian people and the various governments on the unsung contributions of Nigerian music to the socio-economic development of the nation and the possible deployment of Nigeria’s significant international comparative advantage in this area to the provision of hundreds of thousands of well paying jobs to the army of Nigerian youth who parade the streets of the country in hopelessness.
In the State of the Music industry Address, the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition also called on the Federal Government to provide the required resources to the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to ensure a very robust onslaught on the recent menace of digital piracy plaguing the industry. According to the coalition, if the digital piracy across the nation is not quickly addressed, more jobs will be lost in the sector and new investments will not come in.
In the same vein, the coalition drew attention to the need to update the nation’s laws to deal with digital piracy especially, the many illegal websites offering Nigerian music either free of charge or for a fee.
No Music Day 2012 was celebrated with documentaries, debates and discussions on the intellectual property rights of musicians on several media platforms in the country.
For the first time, the music industry called for the halt of the broadcast of music all over the country for a whole day, September 1, 2009