Nollywood filmmakers, actors, industry experts, and other important players have hailed the bill proposing to abolish the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
Stakeholders gave the compliments at a roundtable on Wednesday in Abuja.
The gathering was held to obtain input on a bill that has already been scheduled for a public hearing before the National Assembly.
Board members, filmmakers, investors, and executives from several Nollywood guilds from throughout the country attended the occasion.
The bill was sponsored by Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi, a member of the Surulere/Ogo Oluwa constituency, and passed second reading in the House of Representatives in Oyo state.
The National Film and Video Censors Board Act, cap. 40 of the Federation of Nigeria’s laws of 2004, is repealed, and the National Film and Video Regulatory Commission of Nigeria Act is enacted in its place.
It wants the National Film and Video Classification Commission to be renamed National Film and Video Classification Commission.
Mr Adedayo Thomas, the NFVCB’s Executive Director/CEO, indicated in his remarks that the enabling legislation that formed the board nearly three decades ago was no longer adequate to deal with the changing realities of the digital era.
According to him, the proposed regulation will severely restrict the sale of unclassified and unauthorized films, as well as piracy, while also increasing investor returns and ensuring that the motion picture industry contributes more to GDP.
When passed, he added, the new law will make it more difficult to sell, distribute, and show unedited and other illegal local and foreign films.
His words; “Since I was appointed in 2017, I have been battling with these outdated laws which are grossly inadequate to effectively regulate a large film industry like ours.
“The present law has been existing since 1993 when the board was created, and it is some of its provisions are not stringent enough in terms of penalty and other factors.
“This bill is set to open a new and better chapter for our noble film industry, and this is in line with the present Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As you know, the industry provides the highest employment, and with the new law our national economy will experience a boost,” he said.
Also, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, National President of the Association of Movie Producers and Founder, Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) commended the NFVCB Chief Executive for involving relevant stakeholders in the process of repealing the Act.
She said the bill was a springboard towards a better regulatory framework for the nation’s film industry, and commended the board’s management for the roundtable.
According to her, “We are trying to make sure that the language and the style of the bill at the public hearing will be in accordance with what we as producers will want it to be.
“We are trying to deliberate on it to ensure that it falls in line with global best practices,” she said.
Meanwhile, Veteran Nollywood actor, Keppy Ekpenyong, said: “There is an accommodation in this bill for improvements that will affect every departments of movie production in the industry.”
Mr Agatha Amata, the Managing Director of Rave TV and Trend FM, said the bill was a milestone that addresses modern realities in film sales, distribution and exhibition.
She therefore urged relevant authorities to expedite actions towards ensuring the it was passed into law.
Recalled that the NFVCB, established in 1993, is a Federal Government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria.
The Board is empowered by law to classify all films and videos whether imported or produced locally.
It is also the duty of the Board to register all films and video outlets across the country and to keep a register of such registered outlets.
The board also provides policy advisory support to the federal and state governments in conformance with global best practices.