The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday presented N200 million cheques to 37 beneficiaries of the special interest-free loan to filmmakers under the State’s Creative Initiative (LACI), an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
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Sanwo-Olu disclosed that a nine-man committee comprising veteran filmmakers and some senior government officials headed by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture were set up last year with the mandate of identifying struggling filmmakers that could be empowered with grants and seed funds for film production purposes.
Represented by the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf during the presentation of cheques to the 37 beneficiaries of the special interest-free loan to filmmakers at the Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said the aim of the initiative was to address financial challenges that inhibit quality Film Production in Lagos and Nigeria.
In his words, “this Initiative and presentation of cheques being done today is a testament to our commitment to ensure the potentials of the entertainment industry are realized.
“I congratulate the beneficiaries of this Initiative who are receiving their cheques today. I am without doubt that your proposals and plans must have been really compelling and convincing to the committee.”
Sanwo-Olu admonished the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loan and pay it back at the stipulated time to enable others to be empowered also.
Speaking, Akinbile-Yusuf revealed that before the establishment of this revolving loan for Filmmakers, the governor had made several interventions aimed at ameliorating the devastating effect of the pandemic since the index case was reported in the country two years ago on business owners in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism sector.
Akinbile-Yusuf averred that the cheques of N200 million would be presented to 37 successful applicants to these revolving loans under the first batch as more would still emerge as the collation for the second batch of applicants had started.
The Commissioner posited that the state government was interested in using the revolving funds to bring youths out of unemployment, while also creating entrepreneurs that would use their creativity to enhance the market shares of the film industry.
Permanent Secretary, in the ministry Oyinade Nathan-Marsh commended Governor Sanwo-Olu’s doggedness in transforming the Entertainment and Tourism sector and as well as consistently keeping his electoral promises.
According to her, the sector was one of the key pillars in the THEMES development agenda of this administration and deserved the attention being given by the Lagos government to grow the economy of the State.
Some of the successful applicants who spoke at the event commended Lagos State Government for fulfilling the promise made to them at an interactive session held with the Governor last year.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Tunji Ojetola giving his testimonial said the exercise was devoid of favouritism and that the application process was seamless and the screening was thorough and professional.
In his words “this is the first time a government policy is well executed and the commendation should go to Mr. Governor and the Ministry.”
Veteran filmmaker and director, Mr. Adebayo Salami popularly known as Oga Bello, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues also praised the state government and promised that they would utilize the fund well and pay it back without defaulting.