"MP Uddika Premaratne Advocates for Restructuring Cinema Industry Oversight

In a session at Parliament, MP Uddika Premaratne put forth a proposal aimed at revitalizing the cinema industry by advocating for its transfer from the Ministry of Mass Media to the Industries Ministry. Arguing that the cinema sector, a diverse and expansive industry, demands the focused attention of the Industries Ministry, the MP raised questions directed at Transport, Highways, and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena.

Highlighting the multifaceted nature of cinema beyond mere entertainment, MP Uddika stressed the necessity of aligning it with the Industries Ministry. He underscored existing challenges, including varied provincial entertainment tax rates, with Jaffna at 12 percent and the Southern Province at 10 percent, both surpassing the optimal rate of 7.5 percent. The MP delved into the historical context, noting the abolition of the entertainment tax during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure to foster industry growth.

MP Uddika further shed light on the struggles faced by film producers in the contemporary landscape, emphasizing the difficulty in finding willing producers and the financial burden imposed by distribution agencies and the Film Corporation, leaving producers with substantial debts. He posed a crucial question: why has this vital sector not been placed under the Industries Ministry?

Responding to MP Premaratne's inquiry, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena acknowledged the validity of the concerns raised, drawing attention to past deliberations with former Industries Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana regarding the integration of the cinema industry into the Industries Ministry. Minister Gunawardena, who himself has earned accolades as a film producer, recounted efforts to submit a Cabinet memorandum proposing industry status, only to face rejection.

The discourse sheds light on the complex challenges facing the cinema industry and raises questions about the most effective government oversight for its sustained growth and development."

"In conclusion, MP Uddika Premaratne's impassioned plea to transfer oversight of the cinema industry to the Industries Ministry has brought to the forefront critical issues hindering its growth. The multifaceted nature of cinema, extending beyond mere entertainment, underscores the need for dedicated attention from a ministry focused on fostering industrial development. The MP's insightful observations on challenges such as disparate provincial tax rates and the financial burdens on producers resonate with the broader struggles faced by the industry.

While Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena acknowledged the validity of MP Uddika's concerns, the historical context reveals previous attempts to secure industry status faced hurdles. The unresolved status of the cinema industry within the government framework raises questions about the necessary reforms needed to ensure its vitality and sustained contribution to cultural and economic landscapes.

As the discussions continue, the fate of the cinema industry remains a pressing concern, demanding collaborative efforts to navigate regulatory challenges and create an environment conducive to its flourishing growth and contribution to the national cultural and economic tapestry."