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FG Hands Over National Theatre To CBN, Bankers Committee, For Rehabilitation Towards Creating 1 Million Jobs.

National Arts Theatre

The Federal Government has officially handed over the Iganmu, National Arts Theatre Complex in Lagos, to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, to commence the renovation of the facility.

The handover ceremony which was on Sunday was graced by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. He clearly stated that bankers were aiming to create one million jobs from the project in the next five years.

Also, the event was attended by dignitaries, including the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

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Recall, that last year, the CBN in conjunction with the Bankers’ Committee unveiled the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), which was to enable businesses to obtain loans up to the tune of N500 million.

Furthermore, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the handover of the facility to the committee was timely, considering the external headwinds facing the country’s economy at the moment. Also, he said the rehabilitation of the facility would take 18 months, and the impact of the transformation would make the facility Nigeria’s Creative Industrial Centre.

National Arts Theatre Centre would be on par with other world-class entertainment and convention centres in any part of the world. So, the activities in the centre would include music, movies, fashion, and ICT. This new development will indeed reduce the dependence on revenues from crude oil and could be a source of growth to the economy at large.

Impact In The Creative Industry

The creative industry has the potential to generate over $20 billion annually for Nigeria with its human capital resources and an enabling environment that would harness the creative talents of her youths.

The CBN Governor, said, “We must do more to encourage the innovative works of these young talented Nigerians as they can make significant contributions to the growth and development of our country.

“Secondly, given our growing population of close to 200m people, out of which 60 percent are under the age of 35, it is imperative that we strive to create opportunities that will keep our youths engaged, as it would portend great dangers for the progress of our nation if we allow these talents go to waste”.

The Bankers’ Committee intends to support the creative venture with about N25bn of initial funding towards the realization of this objective. 

Emefiele said the Creative Industries Financing Initiative was a critical factor behind the committee’s decision, following its annual retreat in December 2018 to set up the CIFI with a major focus on four pillars. The pillars, he added, were music, movies, fashion, and information technology.

He said its goal was to support startups and existing businesses across the four pillars, as well as foster the development of a Nigeria Creative Industries Centre in four major cities in Nigeria.

Also, the committee intends to set up similar creative industries centres in Kano, Port-Harcourt, or Enugu. The beneficiaries will be empowered with funds at a single-digit interest rate, high-level training using state of the art tools and networks that will enable them to turn their ideas into a reality.

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