Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN) in Lagos State said they are ready to open for business.
The cinema operators said this at a virtual meeting with Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday. The meeting was moderated by filmmaker and television host, Mosunmola Abudu, popularly called Mo Abudu.
Speaking on behalf of the association, Mr. Moses Babatope, “we are ready to open our cinemas any time today or tomorrow. Cinemas outside Lagos are already open and they are complying with all the necessary protocols. We understand that your office is being careful about health and safety of Lagosians but we also assure you that these are top considerations for us too.”
The association also requested that the governor set up a film office whose function would include liaising with foreign investors while also serving as a major hub for the film industry in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu reiterated his administration’s commitment to work collaboratively with the creative industry, saying that his government will do all that is possible to ensure that the sector thrives in the state.
He said the government is mindful of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on the entertainment industry particularly the cinema sector, promising to work with the association to achieve a win-win situation.
Representatives of CEAN during the meeting expressed concerns about their sector and appealed to Sanwo-Olu to reopen the cinemas. They promised to adhere strictly to the laid down Covid-19 safety guidelines.
A filmmaker, Omoni Oboli, who participated at the meeting, appealed to Sanwo-Olu for tax waivers for cinema operators, saying that no one in the film industry has earned revenue in the past six months.
“Mr. Governor, we want you to help us with some tax break. As you may be aware sir, none of us has earned any revenue in the past six months. We want you to use your good office to help our industry,” Oboli said.
Responding, Sanwo-Olu promised to protect their interest, saying he is a new convert having seen the level of creativity and economic importance of the sector.
He said: “we would work collaboratively with your industry. I am aware of the enormous challenges you face especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic. But as you know, we have to do what is right to protect the lives and property of millions of Lagosians.”