By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos, Oct. 18, 2020 Nigeria’s cinema industry has urged the Federal Government to fulfill its promise of assisting the sector to fully recover from COVID-19 setbacks.
Patrick Lee, National Chairman, Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), made the call during an interview with newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
He said that members of the association had accumulated bills from unpaid taxes, rents, levies, service charges, salaries while the lockdown of COVID-19 which ravaged the world.
The association then called on the federal government to wade into the challenges of cinema operators across the country to enable them remain in business.
He said the sector had lost more than N6 billion to the pandemic and had only resumed business early this month.
“There has been no help from government so far, only promises, we are calling on the federal government and the Lagos State Government to fulfill their promises.
“We want government to help us at this critical period because we are still going through a hard route difficult for us to navigate,” he said.
Lee said he was excited by Nigerians’ rekindled interest in visiting cinemas following the resumption of cinemas across the country three weeks ago.
He said that the major sales cinemas recorded since its resumption was from the release of Nollywood Actress, Toyin Abraham’s movie “Alakada Reloaded” as sales of N57million had been recorded over that.
“Nigerians’ appetite for going to the cinemas has been rekindled because this is the kind of figure we would have expected pre COVID-19 for the release of ‘Alakada Reloaded’.
“People are coming out to support Nollywood, we are confident and happy that our customers are coming back gradually.
“By Christmas this year, we should be going back to the pre COVID-19 levels when everything becomes normal again.
“I must also say that we have had supportive landlords,” he said.
The CEAN Chairman appreciated their patrons across the country for their cooperation so far as they adhered to all COVID-19 safety protocols within the cinemas.
He said no cinema had recorded any case of illnesses within its premises as COVID-19 safety protocols were strictly adhered to.