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BusinessDay 10 Apr 2018

Tuesday

Tuesday 10 April 2018 32 BUSINESS DAY INTERVIEW How technology is helping us tell unique stories about tradition and culture in Africa Regina Olarewaju, managing director of Komotion Studios recently spoke to Frank Eleanya on how the company is using technology innovations such as 3D simulations, virtual reality, animations to create unique stories about Nigeria and Africa. What is that problem Komotion Studios wants to solve in Nigeria? Komotion Studios started out as a production service providing company that catered to Brands and Advertising Agencies, however we identified a gap in the entertainment industry that needed to be filled. We have evolved to become a content creation company that specializes in a broad array of entertainment solutions from animation, visual effects to virtual reality. These specific areas aid in creating compelling content that is capable of engaging, entertaining and passing messages across clearly. Most recently we delved into film making with our pilot project DAWN OF THUNDER- THE LEGACY OF SANGO. We are utilizing our skill set to tell an original African story in a bid to export our culture, educate our children about tradition and culture while also entertaining them and ultimately show the world that there is more to the Nigerian culture than what they perceive. Our sister company Gidi Virtual Tours specializes in 360 panoramic virtual tour creation of locations. The goal is to use this skill set to attract more tourists to the Country as our virtual tours can be viewed via mobile, PC or Virtual Reality headsets by anyone anywhere in the world viewing as though they were there in person. We have assisted clients such as Greensprings School, Corona Secondary School, Meadowhall Group, Lagos Business School, Federal Palace Hotel, Transcorp Hilton, MainOne etc to showcase their facilities in the most innovative and effective way, reaching clients locally and internationally. When providing content delivery for a client, what do you aim for? Two things we always aim for are high quality and meeting deadlines. We are able to deliver on these because we are a flexible and versatile team. We believe nothing is impossible and no matter the creative concept, we can bring it to visual reality at the highest quality attainable while meeting their deadlines. How long have you been in business and what has been the lessons learnt in using technology to solve problems? Komotion Studios is 2 years old, and started with my husband and I as founders. As we have grown exponentially, we strongly believe we have established ourselves as a professional creative content solutions provider that caters to a plethora of industries. Regina Olarewaju From inception, we have been a technologically driven company and are always seeking ways to utilize both art and technology to produce cutting edge solutions for our clients. Technology has come to stay in the entertainment industry all over the world with solutions for various tasks. One of the key parts of our company is research and development (R&D). We try to soak up latest relevant global trends which enables us generate more interesting ways of creating appealing content for a wider range of audiences. Like I said earlier, we delved into virtual reality content creation in 2016. We wanted to use this medium to create more immersive experiences for brands who wanted a more interactive medium to communicate with consumers while entertaining them in the process. One of our strongest areas of expertise is in animation. We create animated content for brands and have recently delved into animated film making. Due to the peculiar nature of things in the country with regards to infrastructure, power supply and access to financing, we decided to turn to technology in order to cut through time and efficiency barriers. By utilizing state of the arts computers and motion capture technology, most of our work on character based animations, visual effects and motion design can now be executed within a shorter period of time while delivering high quality results. This allows us to be more creative and focus on making the story we are trying to tell shine through. It also enables us keep to a schedule and deliver promptly. 3D technology is still a bit hazy for many Nigerian businesses. What does it mean and how does it apply to what Komotion Studios does? 3D technology simply means 3- dimensional technology which is capable of creating anything from existing to futuristic. It is mostly utilized in the entertainment industry to enhance existing content or to create new ones that bring imaginations to life. Our focus as a company is on its use for entertainment in the areas of Animation, Visual effects and virtual reality. We create 3D animated content for a variety of clients who want to engage their audiences differently, emphasize more style and glamour. In the area of visual effects, we create 3D simulations and imagery that can be composited in existing footage to enhance or achieve effects that could not be achieved on production sets. For virtual reality, most of our clients want to utilize the medium to interact with their audience in a different and more engaging From inception, we have been a technologically driven company and are always seeking ways to utilize both art and technology to produce cutting edge solutions for our clients way. In these scenarios, we utilize a combination of 3D imagery and motion graphics to create virtual experiences. The use of technologies like animation, virtual reality, 3D visualization, has become mainstream in industries like Hollywood, why is it taking so long to take off in the Nigerian entertainment industry? Where there is demand, there is always a market. Animation and 3d visualization have always been around but the industry which they belong to hasn’t had the necessary boost and support to guaranty growth. Virtual reality hasn’t broken through yet because of a lack of proper education on the benefits of it to businesses which need to interact with customers in a more interactive manner. Tell us some of the groundbreaking works you have done and what the response of the market has been? We released a proof of concept for our feature length 3D animated movie “DAWN OF THUNDER- LEGACY OF SANGO’ in August 2017 in a bid to garner support to create a world class production from Nigeria (www.dawnofthunder.com). Since its release, we have gathered collectively over 3million views on various media platforms; our work has been featured on various local and international platforms including BBC World news most recently. It has also been selected in four international film festivals. The reception has been amazing from people of different races from all over the world; it’s as if the world was waiting for something like this. With this project, we set out to educate the world about our culture and tradition. A lot of us have forgotten about our roots and have adopted other cultures and traditions, our children now speak in foreign accents and see cultural things as local or fetish; but that is who we are and we must embrace it before we can move forward as a people. Even though we haven’t gotten the full support we need to pull this off, we have started production regardless and are optimistic that we will achieve our goal. We are optimistic that relevant brands and investors will latch unto our project and make this a reality for Africa. How long do you think, it will take Nigeria and Africa to produce technology driven big successes like Black Panther? While I’m very proud of the ‘Black Panther’ movie, I still feel it did not do justice to telling the African story. I feel we have to know where we are coming from before we know where we are headed; our roots are very important. So to answer that question- DAWN OF THUNDER hopes to start a revolution in African storytelling and we believe it’s happening now. Is there a role government policy can play in accelerating adoption of new technologies to help the creative industry grow? I don’t think there are any embargoes on the adoption of new technology in Nigeria. However, I believe that the creative industry is one to watch out for, this is an economy booster. We have thriving businesses, raw talent within this space but the only things that are hindering the growth of this industry are access to finance, infrastructure and power supply. We have the capacity to create world class content that can cut across demographics, we just need the Government to believe in us and invest in us. How do you generate your unique content? For us, the stage of conceptualization is key and we believe “content is King and everything else is a tool”. A deep understanding of your audience and what they can gravitate or relate to is a major factor in creating content that gets their undivided attention even if it’s for a short period of time. Respecting the power of good and effective content, as well as proper execution is what makes our work unique. What are the major challenges companies like yours are facing in Nigeria? The obvious challenges as highlighted above are access to funds/grants, poor infrastructure, inadequate power supply. While technology can hasten the pace of producing ground breaking work, it comes at a price and we still need constant power supply to work. What is the outlook for digital content generation and Komotion Studios? There is currently an unstoppable rise in Digital Content creation globally and Komotion Studios is contributing its quota to that. We believe we have what it takes to tell truly African stories and package this in a way that gives it a more global appeal and acceptance. We have started strong with our first project which we are turning into a feature film, but there is still a lot more to be done and we intend to take it one step at a time. We are optimistic that content will be a new currency and the creators will have the power to affect the world in ways unimaginable.We want to be one of those at the forefront.

Tuesday 10 April 2018 C002D5556 BUSINESS DAY 33 NEWS CBN sees external reserves hitting $50bn... Continued from page 4 Monday at the ongoing seminar for finance correspondents and business editors in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Nigeria’s external reserves currently stand at $47.3 billion as of April 5, 2018 up 105 percent from a low of $23 billion in October 2016. Foreign exchange supply has improved since the CBNs establishment of the Investors and Exporters (I&E) Window, with autonomous inflows of over US$20 billion through this window alone from April 2017 to date. Exchange rate has appreciated significantly from over N525/US$1 in February 2017 to about N360/ US$1 today, tapering premium across various windows and segments of the market. The inflation rate has declined from a peak of 18.7 percent in January 2017 to 14.3 percent currently. “As the sentiments improve in the macro economy and supported by proactive monetary, Shell paid FG $4.32bn for 2017 production... Continued from page 1 for production entitlement. According to the corporation’s sustainability report released yesterday, the company through its Nigerian affiliate, Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) Joint Venture said it has contributed $23 billion to the Nigerian government from 2013–2017. Shell further said the share of royalties and corporate taxes it paid to the Nigerian government in 2017 amounted to $1.1 billion, it subsidiaries, SPDC paid $0.4 billion while Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company SNEPCo paid $0.7 billion. When contacted, Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesman said he would confirm the claims but was yet to get back to BusinessDay before publication. However, if NNPC were a real company accountable to shareholders including the Federal government and States , its reported loss of N6billion in December alone should raise eyebrows and concern . However, this pattern of losses has been the norm for the past 30 years. Between 2012 and 2016, NNPC generated N15.5 trillion in revenues but it also recorded a deficit of N3.1 trillion, and recorded expenses valued at N18.6 trillion in the same period, according to an investigation by a senate committee. Former Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, raised alarm in September 2013, that between January 2012 and July 2013, NNPC had diverted the sum of $20 billion meant for the Federation Account. Probes carried out by PwC Nigeria, a professional service firm, revealed unaccounted oil sales, including $20 billion established for 2014 alone. NNPC claims the bulk of its losses comes from subsidy on fuel importation which Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources recently put at over N1.4 trillion in a year. Rafiq Raji, chief economist at Macroafricaintel, said the NNPC is in the best position to explain to Nigerians what it does with the revenue it gets. trade, industrial and fiscal policies, we expect a continued uptick in GDP growth with a positive spill over to improved unemployment rate,” Emefiele said. Emefiele noted that GDP recovered after five quarters of continuous contraction recording positive growths of 0.7 and 1.4 percent in quarters two and three of 2017, respectively, and signalling an exit from the recession. “We expect a re-doubling of strong policy coordination and cooperation which flourished during the very difficult times. To sustain our recovery, the need is greater now than ever for a robust collaboration between the key members of economic policymaking space,” Emefiele added. This he said would include fiscal, monetary, exchange, and trade policies, which must be targeted at protecting farmers to boost agricultural outputs, supporting local companies and enhancing manufacturing and industrial ca- But the organisation is unwilling. While it claimed over the weekend that it has completed outstanding audit on its financial statements from the years 2011 to 2016, it has refused to make it public. Scrutiny from the lawmakers has made as much impact as a wink in the dark. Value realised from the sale of Nigerian crude have had little impact on Nigerians. The life expectancy in Africa’s biggest economy is a paltry 53 years, in Norway a fellow oil producer, it is 82 years and 64 years in Rwanda. Nigeria has the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world, ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Chad and one in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished. “Tragically, 40 years after Beko Ransome-Kuti helped other countries set a course for the future, the Nigerian primary health care system is broken. The evidence for this can be found in the epidemic of chronic malnutrition, or stunting. As the name suggests, chronic malnutrition is not a disease children catch. It is a condition that develops over time because they are deprived of a diverse diet and the services a strong primary health care system provides,” Bill Gates told Nigerian leaders in a recent address at the National Executive Council meeting. Africa’s biggest economy relies on donor assistance to fund and immunise its children and equip primary health centres. “Your national income level is about to make you ineligible for certain kinds of development assistance and loans that you’ve been relying on to fund your health system and other priorities. Without more and better spent domestic money, investment in your people will decline by default as donor money shrinks—a lose-lose scenario for everyone,” said Gates. Rising from its 260th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the first for 2018, on April 4, the Central Bank of Nigeria warned that the country’s penchant to eat all the proceeds from its oil resources without a robust savings programme to wade-off future shocks from falling oil prices, would be pacities, with a view to diversifying the economy away from oil and fossil fuels. In his address, Okafor Nwokoro, branch controller, CBN, Uyo said the naira which had exchanged for as high as N540 per dollar a year ago has since stabilised at N360 per dollar in a record time proving wrong the notion that in Nigeria, when prices go up they don’t come down. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also in the process of finalizing the creation of a N500 billion fund in partnership with the Nigeria Export- Import Bank (NEXIM) to assist local manufacturers interested in non-oil exports, Emefiele revealed. This is part of the regulator’s efforts towards providing access to much-needed credit to sectors with the potential to create jobs on a mass scale. Nigeria has recorded persistent increase in unemployment rate to 16.2 percent in the second quarter of 2017, from 8.2 percent at the same period of 2015, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), data. We did not take money from FG for tomato... Continued from page 1 policies in the manufacturing sector are inconsistent and mean only death for local manufacturers. “Government should decide whether they want tomato to be made-in-Nigeria or made in other countries. If they want indigenous manufacturers to shut down, then we are ready to shut down and join importers,” Umeofia says. According to him, foreigners are deeply interested in the Nigerian economy and are ready to sabotage it because they want to perpetuate importation and kill local investors. The Erisco chairman says he restrained himself from retrenching workers (but even added more staff) during recession and when times were tough in the country, but may be forced to retrench workers if things do not change. “This system has made a contract with poverty. The truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to chase out poverty but the MDAs have signed a contract with poverty,” he states. He stresses that government agencies have refused to curb importation of cheap tomato pastes into Nigeria, thereby killing the factories built by people like him that have invested billions into local manufacturing in the country. “Who will see cheap items from China and buy Nigerian products?” he asks. “I have advised the government to support indigenous manufacturers to develop this country but all policies seem to be in favour of importation,” he added. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing (2nd r); Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State (r); Eze Uhuegbu, traditional ruler of the host community, Ohiya (l), and Emeka Nwachukwu, former commissioner for Works (2nd l), during the commissioning of 40MVA, 132/33kv mobile power transformer, shortly before the 26th meeting with operators in the power sector hosted by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), at the Ohiya Transmission Substation, Umuahia, Abia State, yesterday. disastrous. “MPC observed increasing monetization of oil proceeds as evident in the growing Federation Accounts Committee (FAAC) distribution, relative to the 2017 level of disbursements. The Committee urged the Government to initiate strong stabilization programmes and to freeze the growth in its aggregate expenditure and FAAC distributions in order to create savings; needed to stabilize the economy against future oil price related shocks,” said Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor. Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the 2017 sustainability report also stated that oil spills in its operational areas are caused by oil theft, sabotage of pipelines as well as illegal oil refining. “In 2017, close to 90% of the number of oil spills from SPDC JV facilities were due to illegal activities. Regrettably, spills also occur due to operational reasons,” it said. It stated that regardless of the cause, it cleans up and remediates areas impacted by spills that come from its facilities and in the case of operational spills, it also pays compensation to people and communities impacted by the spill once the clean-up and remediation are completed, the work is inspected, and, if satisfactory, approved and certified by Nigerian government regulators. Crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network amounted to around 9,000 barrels of oil a day (b/d) in 2017, an increase from around 6,000 b/d in the previous year. The increase in 2017 can partly be explained by the militantinduced shutdown of the Forcados export terminal in 2016, which reduced opportunities for third-party interference. The number of sabotage-related spills in 2017 increased to 62 from 48 in 2016. In 2017, 92 sites were remediated and certified (out of 251 identified f), with 32 in Ogoniland. During 2017, 84 new sites requiring remediation were identified, of which eight were in Ogoniland. In total, there are 243 oil spill sites that require remediation, according to Shell. On the Ogoni clean up, the reports said the company is working with the relevant stakeholders to implement the 2011 UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. “Over the last six years, SPDC has taken action on all the UNEP recommendations addressed specifically to it as operator of the joint venture and has completed the majority of these recommendations”. The UNEP report recommended the creation of an Ogoni Restoration Fund with $1 billion capital, to be co-funded by the Nigerian government, the SPDC JV and other operators in the area. SPDC is supporting and contributing its share to the fund and on behalf of the SPDC JV made $10 million available in 2017 to help set up the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP), a government-led body to clean up contaminated sites.

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