Nollywood: How Far From Reccession? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nollywood: How Far From Reccession?

Posted: Sep 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

I have told many people that the Nigerian movie industry has finally confirmed that it is the only industry probably not experiencing the current downturn in the Nigerian economy. Recession has been described as a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activities are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.

According to the statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the GDP contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter of 2016, following a contraction of 0.36 percent in the first quarter. This officially places Nigeria in a recession, which is defined by two or more consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.

What this means is that our economy has officially been in a recession since April 2016. However, that comes as no surprise to most of us, who have battled the day to day pains due to the crisis. Many industries have collapsed such as the aviation, auto and retail sectors. However, one unusual bright spot that comes out is Nollywood because unlike other industries, the film industry is actually reversing its fortunes due to tough times it had experienced in the past so has been able to absorb the economic shock of today.

Many would want to know my empirical evidence for this postulation of the success story of Nollywood in this season of economic meltdown and I will mention a few of these examples; the number of movies being made have not reduced this year; rather there is a thirty five percent increase in the number of films produced this year as against last year. One would expect a decline but what we see is an increase even in the number of new cinemas springing up.

The major events like the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Abuja International Film Festival, BON Awards have all taken place or billed to take place before the end of year. It is also in the face of this economic challenges that several banking institutions are falling over each other to partner Nollywood. Just last week, over 150 Nigerian filmmakers were in Toronto for the 2016 Toronto International Film festival spending a minimum of N1.5m for that trip, you can do the arithmetic and arrive at the sum total.

Historically, the movie business always has an upsurge in bad economic times, as people head to the theatres to escape from the daily headaches. Domestic box-office revenue went up in five of the past seven recession years dating to the 1960s in Hollywood, according to research compiled by the National Association of Theatre Owners.  It is also a known fact that California is the sixth largest economy in the world and home to diverse strong economies, including Silicon Valley and Hollywood; I do not see why Nollywood can’t be the largest economy in Nigeria even with the recent visit of Mark Zuckerberg to our own Silicon Valley in Yaba.

It therefore becomes imperative for this government to take a closer look at the economic potential of Nollywood to the Nigerian economy. Recent statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics show that entertainment of which Nollywood plays a significant role is one of the few industries doing well in the face of the percent economic recession. Therefore, with  the mounting criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ability to manage the economy everyday by several Nigerians who are struggling with the cost of basic amenities as prices soar and the value of the naira depreciates compared to the US dollar, it therefore means that Nollywood could come in handy.

In conclusion, the Nigerian economy may be in shambles, but for the movie industry, it will signal a nice upsurge as not only does the most universal form of escapist entertainment tend to fare especially well during economic downturns, but as the year rolls to an end it becomes important that the government considers the sector as one of those sectors to inject sustainable funding that could help grow and take economy out of the wood. Noting that Nollywood is a major export product that would generate foreign exchange for the country.