By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos – The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and Access Bank Plc. on Wednesday began discussion on a partnership to provide long-term and low interest loans to movie makers in the country.
The proposed partnership follows the recent agreement signed between NFC and Centre National Du Cinema et de I’image anime (CNC) of France in January.
Mrs Chizoma Okoli, Access Bank Executive Director, Business, Access Bank, said during a meeting between the parties in Lagos that the bank saw the need to partner with NFC to further penetrate and support the Film and Creative Industry.
Okoli said the decision was in line with the Creative Industry Finance Initiative (CIFI) launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to promote the sector.
She explained that the bank intended to foster the collaboration by assisting to pull out fund from the CIFI and disburse as long-term and low interest loans for clients under the proposed partnership with NFC.
“While the industry had been perceived to be risky by other financial institutions despite the available opportunity, we have given the CIFI a lot of mileage and have gotten over a billion naira from the fund,” she said.
Okoli noted that the bank intended to also partner with NFC to facilitate the agreement of the grant offered to NFC by the CNC, France .
Responding , Dr Chidia Maduekwe, NFC Managing Director, commended the bank for reaching out to partner with the regulator of the industry, as that was the practice in other countries despite the vulnerability of the sector.
Maduekwe said the idea of the CNC grant was to guide and assist the NFC develop the Nigerian film industry to the French standard.
He said the idea was to improve the quality of Nigerian films, rather than increasing the quantity at the expense of standard.
The managing director noted that the agency was poised towards promoting the industry and would be willing to partner with the bank as long as the terms and condition of the loan would not stifle the industry practitioners.
“If we can train people to produce quality and successful movies, we also have the capacity to oversight the business aspect of the movie.
“This is the first time we are having this platform to partner with a robust financial institution like Access Bank in providing international grants to the industry stakeholders,” he said.
Maduekwe, however, hinted that the partnership between the corporation and the bank would also enable NFC to fast track other proposed collaboration and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’) on the way for the corporation from abroad.
Meanwhile, the duo finally concluded to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before the end of the week for legal process before final accent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a bilateral agreement was signed between NFC, Nigeria and CNC, France in January.
The CNC is an agency of the French Ministry of Culture and it is responsible for the production and promotion of cinematic and audio-visual arts in France.
The CNC/NFC Collaboration would, among other things, ensure that artistic co-production would be financed by the CNC to the tune of 135,000 Euros for a Nigerian Director/Producer working in partnership with French Film personnel to make high quality films.