Nigerian musician, Jude Abaga, popularly known as M.I Abaga, says the lack of structure in the Nigerian music industry has forced local musicians to sign publishing deals with foreign firms, thereby, causing them to pay their taxes to foreign jurisdictions and hire foreign staffers.
M.I said this at a virtual symposium organised by the Harvard Kenny School Alumni Association of Nigeria on Friday.
Speaking at the symposium with the theme, ‘The Africa Policy Dialogue Series: Harnessing Africa’s Demographic Dividend for Peace, Security and Productivity through Investments in Youth’, M.I said the modern music industry began in 2000 but it took many years before musicians could begin to benefit.
The former Chief Executive Officer of Chocolate City said there were not enough investments in Nigerian music, adding that it was very difficult for most of his colleagues to get funding.
He said, “In 2000, there was no music industry and the first people that started had no structure around them and literally even today as we speak, that structure is being built every day and unfortunately, what we find out is that our top artistes, if you take the top 10 Nigerian artistes, majority of their taxes are being paid to foreign countries, majority of their workforce will be people that are outside of the country.
“There are some investments in the music business but the real big investments are coming from outside and those catalogues, gradually, we are selling them off. As Europe is returning some of our artefacts, we are giving them our artefacts for the next 100 years.
“The bulk of my catalogue is now domiciled under some company that is owned by someone else there (abroad). It is almost like the burden to prove that their ideas and capabilities are viable is on the young Nigerians.”
The musician stated that there was no doubt that Nigerians would do better if they had good opportunities.
He said despite the challenges at home, Nigeria’s entertainment sector had blossomed.
“Nigerians are among the best sub-minorities in the US. We conquered basketball, we have conquered music globally, and we have conquered film. We are doing amazingly well. All we need in Nigeria is opportunity,” M.I said.
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