FG hands over National Theatre to Bankers’ Committee
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that the country has the potential to earn over $20 billion an-nually from the creative industry.
He stated this yesterday at a ceremony that saw the Federal Government officially handing over the National Theatre complex in Lagos to the CBN and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee to commence renovation of the facility.
The development is a key part of the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), which was unveiled at the annual retreat of the Bankers’ Committee held in December 2018.
The CBN Governor said that the National Theatre is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Nigeria Creative Industries Cen tre, adding that when the renovation of the facility is completed in the next 18 months, it would have been transformed into Nigeria’s Creative Industrial Centre that will be comparable to other world class entertainment and convention centres in any part of the world.
Emefiele said: “The Creative Centre, which comprises music, movies, fashion and ICT can be a key source of growth for our economy, creating up to one million jobs for our teaming youths. It will also aid our objective of reducing our dependence on revenues from crude oil. India for example, in 2018, generated over $240 billion from exports of IT, movies, music and fashion-related goods and services.
“This amount is over five times our annual earnings from the sale of crude oil. With our human capital resources and an enabling environment that will help harness the creative talents of our youths, Nigeria has the potential to earn over $20 billion annually from the creative industry.”
He further stated: “Our goal for the National Theatre, is to create an environment where start-ups and existing businesses are rewarded for their creativity.
The National Theatre, when fully renovated, will be able to support skills acquisition and job creation for over one million Nigerians over the next five years.
These Nigerians will be empowered with funds at single digits interest rate, high level training using state-of-the-art tools, and networks that will enable them to turn their ideas into a reality.”
The CBN boss disclosed that when the renovation works at the National Theatre is completed, along with the construction of supporting facilities that will be built around it, including a hotel and an expansive conference centre, the Bankers’ Committee plans to build similar Creative Industries centres in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu.
Emefiele thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the handing over of the facility and its adjoining land to the Bankers’ Committee.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the FG’s handover of the National Theatre to the Bankers’ Committee as a “winwin for every stakeholder”, stressing that no official of the facility would lose his or her job, but rather, the project would create more job opportunities.
“We must transform the National Theatre to its glory days. The facility is to be transformed to international standard. The new centre would comprise hub for fashion, music, ICT and will have commercial and retail facilities, among others,” he said.
Mohammed said the N25 billion project, tagged the Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre Project, is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that will be executed in two phases, with Phase 1 being the restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre to its glory days at a cost of N7 billion, and Phase II, the development of the adjoining fallow land at a cost of N18 billion.
“The good news is that this project will not lead to a single job loss. Instead, it will create more.
Some 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase, while the completed project could generate up to an additional 600 permanent and 2,000 to 3,000 call-on/ call-off jobs.
This is as good as it gets! “For over 40 years, no major renovation work has been done on the National Theatre, while the adjoining land has been lying fallow.
Many attempts to restore the National Theatre have failed. And the government has no money to restore the complex,” he said.
Similarly, in his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, commended President Buhari and the Bankers’ Committee for the initiative, noting that it would go a long way in creating employment opportunities for the country’s teeming youth population.
The ceremony had in attendance the CEO, Access Bank Plc. and Chairman of the Committee of Bank CEOs, Mr. Herbert Wigwe; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy and other top officials in the state government.