Nollywood Media | 13 September 2016 01:54 CET

There should be minimum wage for artists— Makinde Adeniran, NANTAP president


Makinde Adeniran, the newly elected president of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), has said that the lack of a proper structure in the Nigerian entertainment industry is what spurred him to contest for the top job of the association. •Makinde Adeniran

According to him, “The reason I contested is simple. Looking at the entertainment industry, especially theatre in Nigeria; theatre in this case Nollywood inclusive. One thing is lacking; there is a lot of creativity, lots of people and we are naturally creative but there is lack of structure that cannot make us industrialise. We call it an industry but that's in saying, in actual practice, it is not an industry. Nobody can come into the industry and quantify the industry. People assume figures and the reason is because there is no system anywhere.” Adeniran also argued that every artiste in Nigeria should be entitled to minimum wage.

In his words, “There isn't what you call minimum wage for an artiste in Nigeria. That's just one of so many things that are important for anything that you want to create as an industry. For me, being someone who has practiced almost everywhere in the world, I see that we, as artistes, and the government of Nigeria can make more if only this industry has a system and structure that government can maximize from that.” He also spoke on the alleged amalgamation of all the guilds.

He stated, “Amalgamation is no problem. It is good to proliferate but there must be unity of purpose. I think that's what is wrong. We have different expertise in the industry, but all the people must come together because it is an industry.”

On the perception that the theatre art industry is too quiet and is almost dying, Makinde retorted, “Theatre is the laboratory where you go back to refresh yourself. If as a Nollywood actor, you do one or two films, and you need to re-invent yourself, theatre is where you go. Look at Hollywood, when Hollywood actors do a major film and its out, they disappear for another two to three years. But they are in a theatre somewhere reinventing themselves, or they get a coach who then trains them to reinvent themselves as actors. In Lagos alone, you have more than 100 theatre companies that are not known. These people are employers of labour but because there is no system on ground, they cannot be identified; they cannot be helped.  So these are the things we want to bring on board; they will be helped.”

The NANTAP president also broached the issue of artists paying tax, saying artistes don't pay tax because they are not recognised under any industry. “Artistes pays tax on something else, not connected with his theatre work. That is why every time we go to the government with a particular demand, they see it as begging rather than a demand that is necessary for both the country and the employers of labour in that industry. We have to begin to see the theatre industry as an equal element in economic development.”

On what he wants to be remembered for, he enthused, “I'll like to be remembered for putting a system in place that is workable, and that the future generation will be happy with. You wouldn't want your children to go to school and study theatre arts and not be able to sustain their future based on theatre practice. Of course, all over the world, it's not like there's big money in the profession but go abroad, you'll know there is a system, though they may not be making enough but the country caters for them because there is local funding everywhere.”

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