Tuesday, 20 April 2021 12:05

National Film Corporation faces financial irregularity charges Featured

Sri Lanka’s state-owned National Film Corporation (NFC) is now running at a loss as the revenue from screening films in local cinema halls has come down to a very low level.

On top of this financial irregularities in the corporation during the last few years have made it impossible to continue day-to-day functions.

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has summoned the Corporation Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa and senior officials on Friday April 23 to investigate past irregularities in the corporation.

One of the allegations against the NFC was the failure to recover a sum of Rs. 70.13 million granted to film directors to produce films up to now.

The outstanding amount is yet to be recovered and no legal action has been taken against the relevant directors by the corporation and it has become a liability of the state-owned institution at present, the Auditor General’s recent report revealed.

The NFC had to write-off a sum of Rs. 8.2 million given to several directors as they have passed away a few years ago, the report divulged.

Even under the present financial difficulty, the NFC has undertaken the task of providing financial assistance to local cinema halls affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A sum of Rs. 100,000 will be distributed among local cinema halls without any income for three months, NFC sources said.

The financial assistance comprises Rs. 50,000 for maintenance and salary expenses, and the remainder, an interest-free loan which can be repaid in installments.

The NFC in a statement said the Rs. 5000 worth monthly allowance for artistes will be granted before the third of every month.

Sri Lanka’s film industry is now struggling to find its footing, although it has a history of more than six decades.

Local cinema was on a downward spiral, except for a few films that made their presence felt at international film festivals.The NFC which was instrumental in bringing about a boom in local cinema during the 1970s by handing out interest-free loans to film-makers had stopped funding films by the end of the 2009 ethnic conflict.

The then government‘s action to privatise film import and distribution in 2001 has led to reduced distribution of films, resulting in hundreds of cinemas closing down over the last decade, industry sources said

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