Abuja - Pretty Okafor, President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has said that the economic recession facing the nation since 2016 did not stop its entertainment industry from thriving.
He stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Okafor, in a retrospective look into 2016, noted that while other sectors of the nation’s economy were grappling with the realities of the recession, the music and motion pictures industry was ‘doing well’.
“The entertainment industry is the only sector that recession did not affect, and will never affect.
“While other sectors were retrenching workers in the past year and finding it difficult to pay workers salaries, the entertainment industry was employing people.
“Artistes and everyone in the industry were busy working, going for concerts, producing movies and music all over the place.
“We were shooting movies and distributing our albums all over Africa and beyond,” he asserted.
The PMAN boss explained that the Nigerian brand and artistes, in the last year, gained both local and global acceptance and relevance than ever before.
He added that besides the artistes, producers, promoters and others involved in other ancillary services within the industry reaped increased income during the year.
“Everybody who is creative and hard-working chunked out albums, and within the year, thousands of music and movie albums were produced.
“Presently, there is no other African Artistes that collects the fee Nigerian artistes collect per show.
“They collect from 100,000 to 150 000 dollars for a single performance wherever they go all over the world.
“In the whole of Africa, it is only Nigerian Artistes that fly Private Jet around, it has never happened in Africa,” he noted.
According to Okafor, the Nigerian brand of entertainment is now competing effectively on the global stage.
This he said has attracted a lot of foreign investors and promoters, and thereby added to the nation’s foreign exchange.
He noted that many dance steps that were originated by Nigerian artistes have gained popularity around the world.
“In many media stations abroad, Nigerian music earned not less than 75 per cent air- time, that tells you that our brand has global market.
“If you visit many night clubs in the U.S, Jamaica and other countries, Nigerian music is played.
“In Aruba Island and the Trinidad and Tobago, they collect tax from their citizens for buying Nigerian movies and music albums.
“So other countries are making money from what we produce, and we can’t even appreciate what is it has to offer back at home.”
Okafor, therefore, called on relevant stakeholders and governments at all levels to focus on exploring the potentials the industry has to offer, especially as the nation advocates economic diversification.
According to him, if given adequate attention, the entertainment industry is the only viable sector that can bail the country out of its recession in no distant time.
“The era of sole reliance on oil is gone, and the earlier Nigeria realises this, the better it will be for its citizens.
“The entertainment industry does not need intensive capital and long period to yield return on investment.
“Government just needs to demonstrate a strong political will in providing the necessary regulations and enabling environment.
“We are not telling them to give us loan, but they should provide a strong system that provides adequate management and protection for the creative rights of Nigerians, “he urged.
He said since the Nigerian entertainment industry is globally acclaimed as the third largest in the world and the best in Africa, there was need to harness its potentials.
He noted that the U.S and other developed economies in the world were maximising the opportunities their creative industries had to offer.
“The entertainment industry is a major contributor to American GDP and that of other countries that have no oil.
“The income California generates, as the entertainment hub in the U.S, can run America.
“There is money in production, branding, promotion and marketing, and an investor can venture into any of these areas, “he urged.
The PMAN President extolled Nigerian music artistes who won major awards in Africa and those who got signed into international labels in the last year.
He expressed optimism that Nigerian artistes would receive nominations and pick a trophy at the prestigious Grammy Awards in 2017.
NAN recalls that in 2016, many Nigerian artistes made major breakthroughs within and beyond the African continent.
In Oct, Nigerian singers Wizkid and Yemi Alade,won the ‘African Artiste of the Year’ and the ‘Best Female Artiste’ respectively at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) in South Africa.
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Also at the maiden edition of the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival held in Lagos,the duo were also named ‘African Artiste of the Year’ and the ‘Best Female Artiste’ respectively.
Nigeria’s young ace ‘Mr Falz’ was named ‘Best New Artiste’, while Tekno’s Video ‘PANA’, directed by Clarence Peters won the ‘Video of the Year’ award.
Nigeria topped the award list, with 11 awards won by different artistes.
In the past year also, Nigeria’s female singer Tiwa Savage signed a management deal with American entertainment company, Roc Nation, while the ace singer Davido signed a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment.
Many Nigerian singers also embarked on music tours to Europe, America, Australia and the Caribbean (NAN)