We’ll work closely with your sector, Sanwo-Olu assures creative industry
• as gov, Mo Abudu, Omoni Oboli, others meet on cinemas reopening • CEAN expresses readiness anytime
Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday reiterated his administration’s commitment to work in collaboration with the creative industry, assuring that his administration would do all that is possible to ensure that the sector thrives in the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu gave this assurance during a virtual meeting with members of the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) and other key stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry.
Filmmaker and television host, Mosunmola Abudu, popularly called Mo Abudu, moderated the meeting.
The governor, while giving the assurance, said the state government was mindful of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on the entertainment industry particularly the cinema sector, promising to work with the association to achieve a win-win situation.
Representatives of CEAN during the meeting, expressed concerns about their sector, appealing to the governor to reopen the cinemas and also open the sector for business while promising to adhere strictly to the laid down COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Mr Moses Babatope said the cinema owners in the state were set to reopen for business anytime, noting that cinemas outside Lagos had already commenced operations and their owners complying with all the necessary protocols.
“We are ready to open our cinemas any time today or tomorrow. Cinemas outside Lagos are already open and they are complying with all the necessary protocols.
“We understand that your office is being careful about health and safety of Lagosians but we also assure you that these are top considerations for us too,” he said.
The association also requested that the governor set up a film office whose function would include liaising with foreign investors while also serving as a major hub for the film industry in Lagos.
A filmmaker and one of the participants at the meeting, Omoni Oboli, appealed to Governor Sanwo-Olu for tax waivers, saying that no one in the film industry had earned revenue in the past six months.
“Mr Governor, we want you to help us with some tax break. As you may be aware sir, none of us has earned any revenue in the past six months. We want you to use your good office to help our industry,” Oboli said.
Responding, Sanwo-Olu assured the film industry experts that he would ensure that the government continues to protect their interest, saying he was a new convert having seen the level of creativity and economic importance of the sector.
“We would work collaboratively with your industry. I am aware of the enormous challenges you face especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic. But as you know, we have to do what is right to protect the lives and property of millions of Lagosians,” the governor said.
He also promised to look into all the requests made and return to them in due course.