By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Veteran actor and filmmaker, Mr. Adebayo Salami, otherwise known as Oga Bello, has received interest-free loans worth N200 million alongside 38 other filmmakers.
The financial support was given to them by the Lagos State Government to support the creative industry and boost the economy.
The disbursement was coordinated by the Lagos State Creative Initiative (LACI) under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Last year, the state government appointed a nine-man committee made up of veteran filmmakers and senior civil servants headed by Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ms Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf.
The team was given the mandate to identify struggling filmmakers who could be provided with grants and seed money for film production purposes.
While presenting checks to 39 recipients at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos Island, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu explained that the aim of the initiative is to address financial challenges that hinder the production of quality films in Lagos and Nigeria.
“This initiative and the presentation of the checks made today demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the potential of the entertainment industry is realized.
“I congratulate the beneficiaries who receive their checks today. I am convinced that your proposals and your plans had to be really convincing and convincing to deserve the approval of the committee, ”said the governor, represented by Ms Akinbile-Yussuf.
He urged recipients to make wise use of the loans and repay them on time to allow others to access the fund.
In her remarks, Ms. Akinbile-Yussuf revealed that prior to the revolving loan for filmmakers being put in place, the Governor made various interventions to mitigate the devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on business owners in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors.
“The Governor has formed a palliative care review committee led by veteran Nollywood actress, Joke Silva, who has proposed an immediate one billion naira response for various stakeholders.
“Following Mr. Governor’s endorsement, the Ministry then presented checks to some of the beneficiaries during the first edition of the Lagos Tourism, Arts and Culture Economic Summit, LATHACE, held on last year,” said the commissioner.
Ms. Akinbile-Yussuf further stated that “to complement this gesture, the Ministry has sought and obtained Mr. Governor’s approval for a 50% discount on business license fees payable by all practitioners in the sector. entertainment and hospitality for the year 2020″.
She claimed that checks worth N200 million would be presented to the 39 successful beneficiaries of the revolving loan under the first batch, while more beneficiaries will still appear as the second batch is collected. of candidates began.
“The state government wants to use the revolving funds to lift young people out of unemployment while creating entrepreneurs who would use their creativity to improve the film industry’s market share,” she said.
In her welcoming remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Oyinade Nathan-Marsh, hailed Governor Sanwo-Olu’s determination to transform the entertainment and tourism sector by consistently delivering on her promises to boost its potential.
She challenged the beneficiaries on the proper use of the fund so that the door of the good opportunity is not closed to other beneficiaries.
Some of the successful candidates, who spoke at the event, praised the Lagos State government for delivering on its promise made during an interactive session held with the Governor last year.
Giving his testimony, Mr. Tunji Ojetola, said the exercise was devoid of favoritism as the application process was transparent just as the selection was thorough and professional.
“This is the first time that a government policy has been well executed and congratulations must go to Mr. Governor and the ministry,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Adebayo, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, also praised the state government and pledged that it would use the funds wisely and repay without default.