Tourism Minister Inaugurates Local Content Committee For NFA

The Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi on Wednesday inaugurated the Local Content Committee of the National Film Authority (NFA) with the mandate to develop a local content policy.

She said the policy would put into law, the guidelines for a minimum requirement of Ghanaian produced content on television and ensure that Ghanaian producers and broadcasters work together to bring quality TV programmes.

The local content policy would help drive investment into the sector, help bring in much needed foreign exchange, create jobs, and grow the sector to compete favourably on the international scene, she added.

“If we want to make such gains and help make Ghana a film and content hub in the sub-region, we would have to bite the bullet and take the actions that push us forward, by giving Ghanaians the opportunity and the responsibility to be answerable to Ghanaians by producing quality content locally, for the ultimate good of Ghana.”

Mrs Oteng Gyasi noted that research points to the fact that countries that put in place local content policies to allow their local industries to grow, have the largest GDPS in the world, and disagreed with the argument that protecting our local industries removes overall competitiveness and may encourage the sector to become stagnant.

“Ghanaians have a taste and will demand quality and local producers and broadcasters will have to step up to provide the kind of stories and programs that Ghanaians demand.”

She said governments all over the world have used local content to help raise the expertise of the local sector, encourage local collaboration and investments as well as create jobs and incomes to many homes.

With the continued right training, Ghanaians should be able to rise to the challenge of producing world competitive programming not only for Ghanaians but for the world, thereby creating even more opportunities for Ghanaian content producers.

She urged the committee to work diligently and to consult all stakeholders to help ensure a local content policy that was acceptable and workable for all and called on Ghanaians to be patient, even as the industry rises to meet the opportunities that such a policy would bring to the country.

Mr Kwaw Ansah, Veteran Filmmaker said the inauguration was part of the building blocks needed to lay an enduring foundation and an attractive superstructure for an industry that was dear to the hearts of all true African filmmakers.

“It is good to struggle to build a solid infrastructure for the Ghanaian film industry; it is good to ask the government to seed the industry with funds. The mandate of the committee is to ensure that the Ghana Film Industry wakes up as content answers all things.”

“Let Ghanaian’s see more of the relevant African films. Even though we need theatres, I propose that even before the theatres materialize, we have to put on paper the structures to determine what proportion of local, against foreign movies we shall allow.”

Mr David Dontoh, Chairman, NFA said the formation of the Committee was very important, saying "at last we have recognized that over the years we have been running away from ourselves, but we have to formulate policies that will help us concretize what we are thinking as Ghanaian local content."

He said television and film have become the most expressive medium of modern civilization, yet consumer patterns have changed in Ghana against local productions for more foreign ones including the proliferation of Mexican and Asian soap operas that have been "localized" through dubbing over in local languages to attract viewership.

Chairman of the 10-member committee Mr Samuel Attah-Mensah, Chief Execute Officer Omni Media, operators of Citi FM, and Citi TV said that the Committee wants Ghana to win at the end of the day.

"We will put ourselves together and take a cue from the National Film Authority and other agencies to deliver on our mandate."

Other members of the committee include David Dontoh, Juliet Yaa Asantewaa Asante, Ernest Boateng, Peter Sedufia, James Aboagye, Nii Adokwei Moffat, Mike Amon-Kwafo. Two other members are expected to be named later.