LAJ-K URGES GOVERNMENT TO PRIORITISE ENTERTAINMENT AS THE ECONOMIC HUB FOR THE NEW DIRECTION

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The Chief Executive Officer of LAKE Production Company Limited, Alhaji K. Tarawally fondly known as Laj-K has called on the Government of President Julius Maada Bio to prioritize local talent and understand the financial benefit that such social priority will bring to the socio-economy development of the nation.

He made this appeal ahead of the 1st National Unity Stakeholders Consultative Conference of the Sierra Leone Entertainment Industry that has been scheduled to take place on Saturday, 23rd June 2018, at the Miatta Conference hall under the Special Guest of Honour of Her Excellency, Madam Fatima Bio.

Highlighting the economic benefit of the entertainment industry, Laj-K said that, the Creative Arts Industry is one of the biggest investments opportunity around the world presently. He said Africa’s entertainment industry, especially in the five biggest economies, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years according to a major study looking at the continent’s entertainment industry growth.

He said Growth in the African entertainment industry has been phenomenal and further reinforced by its inclusion in the computation of the continent’s rebased GDP from 2014, giving rise to the service sector. He added thatthe increasing demand of Nigerian entertainment content in music, movies, creative arts, publishing or stage events is gaining market visibility and global recognition.

‘The Nigerian creative sector contributes about 23.52% to the country’s GDP with a total net worth of$5billion though, significantly lower than the United States of America that is put at $798billion. Nevertheless, progress is being recorded as Nigeria is next to India, which has an estimated sector size worth $19billion. There is significant growth pathway for Nigeria followed by South Africa with $3billion, Ghana $1.5 billion and Kenya with $1billion, despite the fact that most businesses in the sector are built on personal business model with a growing number of private individuals beginning to form firm alliance’. Laj-K asserted.

Interest to invest in entertainers and the entertainment industry is beginning to grow.The PwC Outlook report says Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry is expected to grow from $5billion in 2018 to $8.1 billion in 2019, with digital spend expected to fuel the overall growth.Nigeria’s entertainment and media market grew by 19.3% in 2014 to reach US$4 billion. By 2019, the market would be more than twice as big, with estimated total revenue of US$8.1 billion.

Laj-K, the 2018 West Africa Young Leadership Award Winner said, the role of the entertainment industry in most of these African countries has increasingly become important as it generates employment and serves as a tool for poverty alleviation, adding that, all segments of the entertainment industry in Nigeria are now growing into multibillion-dollar businesses. The Nigerian Film & Video Censors Board estimated that Nollywood employs about 1 million people in Nigeria and the board receives the production of about 2,500 movies annually.

It was against this backdrop, stakeholders from various facet of the entertainment industry in Sierra Leone have now realised their economic potential and have decided to put their ego aback to converge and deliberate on issues affecting the interest of the Creative Industry and to develop a blue print document that would be used as a transitional structure from a Collective Union to a Collection Society.All the key players/organisations have already consented to actively partake in the process, deliberate and develope a blue print document that would be presented to the Sierra Leone Government for it legal processing and implementation.

Representation will be coming from all facet but limited to these accepted bodies: The Sierra Leone Film Council, Sierra Leone Musicians Union, All Stars, Sierra Leone Promoters Union, Sierra Leone Marketers Association, Sierra Leone Pageant Producers Association, National Copyright Committee, Sierra Leone DJ’s Union, Sierra Leone Dance Sports Association, the Comedy sector, the Entrepreneurs, the Producers, the Publishers and the Writers Guild.

« In recent years Sierra Leone Entertainment Industry had denigrated to ‘Jelibaism’ we need to look into ourselves and just focus on the issue at hand, » says Laj-K.

Laj-K, who was recently nominated amongst the 50 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneanand one of the key Coordinating members of the 2018 Consultative Conference called on entertainers at both home and abroad to join the Steering and Organizing Committee to make this year’s National Stakeholders Consultative Conference a very big success. « All of us must now stop the praise singing and focus on the bigger task ahead so posterity wouldn’t judge us. » Says Laj-K.

He added that, he is not interested in individual glory or title but collective glory for the economic sustenance of the whole industry through the establishment of the Collection Society. He affirmed that, if entertainers can major on the major for the sake of their career or minor on the trivialities, emotional spasms and false ego which will only put them all into deficit. The former he said will be expedient and will help develop Sierra Leone as a whole.

He said, as an entertainer,they have the capacity to rebrand this country and contribute to its economic growth, boost tourism, create jobs etc.

Laj-K further acknowledged that, this is the last chance for entertainersto put their acts together and make a big statement on the 23rd June 2018. This he saidwill be good for fiscal investment or business in general and as creative people can make a living out of it and get the respect they deserve just like entertainers from other African nations…..A COLLECTION SOCIETY WILL BE A HUGE LEAP.

He urged the government to use the economic references he had cited to focus on the entertainment industry as a collective responsibility.

Mr. Tarawally is a seasoned TV personality, lecturer and entrepreneur who have over the years engaged in promoting youth related activities – advocacy, sports and entertainments. He is one of the few Sierra Leoneans who have reached the echelon of admiration.  His popular TV program the ‘GATEWAY’ show, usually broadcast on AYV Television, has helped re-brand the once dilapidated entertainment industry, giving entertainers the desired platform to showcase and promote their talents and arts.

Laj K was also a parliamentary candidate in this year’s General Elections which he lose. He is the Chief Executive Officer of LAKE Production Company Limited, the only truly full-service Sierra Leone’s number one premium entertainment, event management, advertising, public relations, marketing, branding and media production firm. LAKE Production is the only event management company that has the legal and sole ownership franchise to organize and manage the following national entertainment events in Sierra Leone including; National Entertainment Awards, National Music Awards, Miss Mano River International Beauty Pageant, Miss Freetown Beauty Contest, National Hip-hop Music Award and National Music Festival…All of which are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and Office of the Administrator and Registrar General in Sierra Leone.

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Abu Bakarr Tarawally is a Journalist based in Freetown. He works for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. He has once served as Editor for a few newspapers in Freetown, including Sierra Express Media, The Exclusive Newspaper and his own newspaper, the Daily Express Publications. He is a teacher trainer, and loves writing and reading a lot. Email: abstarawally@gmail.com. Call +232 88601277 or +2327661303.

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