Posted by News Express | 22 June 2013 | 5,244 times
The implementation team of the N3 billion presidential support fund for the Nigerian film industry has explained why it decided not to disclose the identities of assessors of those who apply to benefit from the fund.
Project ACT Team, as the committee is otherwise known, also defended the guidelines which it released last week for accessing the capacity building fund component of Project ACT Nollywood.
Responding to criticism of the guidelines by some Nollywood practitioners, Project ACT Team said yesterday in a statement issued in Abuja, capital of Nigeria:
“Since the townhall meeting in Lagos, we have received overwhelming positive feedback on this initiative to support the industry, and for this, we are both grateful and encouraged by the fact that the government can engage with the industry constructively. However, following the release of the guidelines for accessing the capacity building fund component of Project ACT, it is terribly disappointing that a small group of practitioners in the industry have gone public to discredit the entire program, and the good relationship the government is trying to build to support the industry. It is this sort of negativity that is discouraging the government from assisting the industry. To address the criticisms of this small fringe directly;
“First, on the inadequacy of Mr. President’s 3 Billion Naira Grant. As was made clear by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance during the townhall meeting in Lagos, the grant is not meant to ‘reposition the industry’, as stated. Led by the private sector, the Nollywood Industry has done very well on its own over its period of existence, without much government interference. It is not the intention of government to now tamper with the industry. Coupled with some policies, this grant program is meant to help catalyze further private sector investment into the industry, rather than provide funding to address all the industry’s challenges.
“Second, it is being demanded that the Assessors of applications for the Capacity Building Fund be made public to ensure that they are not people with hidden agendas. Surely, the process of selecting beneficiaries must be fair and merit-based. However, the whole point of keeping the identities of the Assessors out of the public domain is to give them the room to focus on the job without the harassment of lobbyists and sundry influence peddlers. Potential assessors do not want to be lobbied or harassed. It is unfortunate that the reputation for infighting of the industry have made people wary of participating in initiatives involving Nollywood. It is sad but this is what the government is discovering when approaching people.
“Third, the suggestion that the different Nollywood guilds and associations get involved in the implementation of the Capacity Building Fund is one that is fraught with possible danger. It is no secret that many of these associations have strong differences, and we have found that a number of them want these funds for purposes that are not in the industry’s interest. We believe that it is best to keep Project ACT away from Nollywood politics and the perception of politics. Related to this is the recommendation that only practitioners who belong to Nollywood associations should be allowed to benefit from the Capacity Building Fund. This is not fair and is certainly not in the overall interest of the industry considering that there exists a lot of talent outside these associations.
“Let it be noted that this Project, which has been well received by the majority of practitioners in the industry, will not be derailed by the actions of a group of individuals. Whilst we are willing and open to listening, we recognise that this project cannot meet the needs and desires of everyone. We encourage those who feel the project does not meet their needs to seek assistance elsewhere.”
As News Express reported last Sunday, June 16, implementation of the presidential intervention formally commenced last week with the roll out of a N300 million capacity building fund.
Project ACT Nollywood is managed by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Minister of Tourism, Chief Edem Duke.
•Photo shows action in a Nollywood flick. The fund is meant to take the industry to the next level.
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