By Folasade Akpan
Abuja, May 4, 2021 The Statistician-General of the Federation, Mr Yemi Kale, says the arts and entertainment sector cannot be ignored if Nigeria is truly desirous of creating more jobs for its teeming youths.
Kale said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the NBS-NFC Technical Committee and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), for the development of a comprehensive statistical framework for the Nigerian Film Industry.
The MoU was signed by Kale and Mr Chidia Madueke, the Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).
Kale also noted that the sector could grow Nigeria’s export earnings in services and goods.
“Worldwide, our films and entertainment services are being consumed and enjoyed in places previously unimagined locally and enabled by technology on various social media platforms.
“It is also creating employment opportunities for both the young and old, while directly supporting other activities within this economy,” he said.
The statistician-general, however, said that to explore the many gains in the sector, the foundation, which was statistics, should be in place.
Kale said that prior to the last Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing exercise conducted in 2013/2014, the arts and entertainment sector, which the film industry is a subset of, was grossly under-covered in the National Accounts compilations.
He said that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was the primary national agency responsible for the production and management of official statistics in Nigeria.
He said that its mandate was to ensure that activities in every sector of the Nigerian economy were adequately captured and reported.
“Data is what gives you the evidence that you use to make the right decisions and to introduce the right policies.
“So, I want to commend the managing director of the NFC for his initiative and to also say that it is even more significant because this is the first time in the history of both the NFC and the NBS that we are attempting to get comprehensive data on the industry.
“The initiative behind this collaboration is very desirable and timely and this important step to partner with the NBS will produce data and build capacity around film-related statistics.
“This simple effort is also important because it provides the management of the NFC and other relevant stakeholders with adequate, reliable and timely statistical information for informed decision making.
“Without this, little or no progress will be made in our quest for the development of the sector in particular and Nigeria at large,” he noted.
On his part, Maduekwe stated that the framework would provide tried, tested and reliable data needed to showcase, project and galvanise opportunities and investments in the film sector.
He added that policy frameworks and documents were for general guidelines and directions, while data and statistics provide facts and figures for accurate works in specific terms.
According to him, it will help the Nigerian film industry facilitate the planning and decision-making processes within the film industry and enable the formulation of appropriate policies for the growth of the sector.
He added that it would also provide a guide on investment decision-making for both domestic and foreign investors and encourage the active participation of banks and other financial institutions, in financing film projects in the industry.
According to Madueke, it will help to forecast returns on investment in the film industry, while researchers and academia will have access to relevant data and information on the industry.
“There is no doubt that vast opportunities exist in the film industry to accelerate the growth of the Nigerian Film creative economy and the NFC is more than ever, ready to reposition the film industry for greater development.
“The project, when completed will add impetus to the Nigerian film industry statistical reckoning, in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the present administration.
“The ERGP of the Federal Government identifies the film industry as one of its priority sectors, given its capacity to generate jobs and create wealth.
Madueke added that the NBS/ NFC collaboration would generate policies and measures that would encourage further growth and investments when put in place to guarantee overall success for the industry.