Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, the documents seeking the approval of the Finance Minister to activate the scheme remains trapped in some files in the office of the Director of Fiscal Policy in the Federal Ministry of Finance while the industry meant to benefit from it is suffocating
September 2, 2014 – Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has called on Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to take personal responsibility to activate the copyright Private Copy Levy scheme
Speaking on the occasion of ‘No Music Day’, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said Okonjo Iweala must immediately and personally take charge and unshackle the Private Copy Levy Scheme which has remained trapped in the Directorate of Fiscal Policy in her ministry for months.
“ The Private Copy Levy Scheme which for many years has been in operation in many countries around the world, including some in our sub region, is intended to provide badly needed cushion for the stakeholders in the creative industry suffering from the unbridled copying and downloading of creative materials made possible by modern technology”, he said adding that the Nigerian music industry is aware that the order to activate the Private Copy Levy has since been made by the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Mr. Muhammed Bello Adoke and published in the Federal Gazette”, he said.
Okoroji noted that the Nigerian Copyright Commission has held several public consultations on the levy and that stakeholders have since looked forward to the commencement of the scheme.
“ Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, the documents seeking the approval of the Finance Minister to activate the scheme remains trapped in some files in the office of the Director of Fiscal Policy in the Federal Ministry of Finance while the industry meant to benefit from it is suffocating”, he said.
According to him, if the Honourable Minister has any questions on the scheme, COSON is ready to provide the answers.
“We believe that within a few minutes, this scheme which will provide some succour not just for the music industry but also for the movie and literary industries should be given an opportunity to make progress”, he added.
While commending the government of President Goodluck Jonathan for his interest in providing desperately needed funds for Nigeria’s creative industries so that they can achieve their potentials, he expressed the concern of the music industry that the government may have been made to see Nigeria’s creative industries as beginning and ending with Nollywood saying that it would be a huge mistake.
In the words of the former President of PMAN: ‘Please let us clarify that we fully support any assistance given by the government to our brothers and sisters in the Nigerian movie industry with whom we maintain an excellent relationship and work very closely with for the good of Nigeria.
“We are simply saying that the very reasons for government intervention in the movie industry apply fully to the Nigerian music sector which is equally making our nation proud across the world”, he said and called on President Goodluck Jonathan to direct the Bank of Industries (BOI), the Nigerian Export & Import Bank (NEXIM), the Federal Ministry of Trade & Investments and everyone connected with the Growth in Employment in States Fund (GEMS) and the Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund announced by President Jonathan three years ago to do what is necessary to make sure that the funds begin to have real impact on the industry, create the badly needed employment and reduce the restiveness in Nigeria.
“We wish to state that both the Growth in Employment in States Fund (GEMS) and the Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund announced by President Goodluck Jonathan three years ago, which created so much initial buzz, have not been the catalysts they were intended to be”, said Chief Okoroji.