Tuesday , October 26 2021

CBN, Bankers Committee to Convert National Theatre to Nigeria’s Creative Industrial Centre

…As FG hands over Property, 132,000 hectares of land

…Moves to generate $20bn annually from creative industry

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for the handing over of the National Theatre and its surrounding lands to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Bankers Committee on Sunday.

Emefiele disclosed that the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, which is being handed over to the Bankers Committee is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Nigeria Creative Industries Centre.

“Upon completion in another 18 months, this area would have transformed into Nigeria’s Creative industrial Centre, which will be comparable to other world class entertainment and convention centres in any part of the world.

“Following the completion of the renovation works at the National Theatre, with the supporting facilities that will be built around it, which include a hotel and an expansive conference centre, we intend to set up similar creative industries centres in Kano and Port Harcourt.”

According to Emefiele, the handover of the edifice to the CBN/Bankers Committee is indeed timely when one considers the external headwinds facing our economy today.

The edifice constitutes over 132,000 hectares of land.

However, he noted: “With our human capital resources and an enabling environment that will help harness the creative talents of our youths.”

According to CBN, the country has the potential of earning $20 billion annually from the creative industry when the edifice is renovated into four pillars: information technology, music, film and fashion.

Speaking at the handover of the National Theatre to the Bankers Committee in Lagos on Sunday, the CBN governor said the National Theatre and complementary facilities would help in unleashing the creative talents of Nigeria’s youths across multiple sectors and supporting his objective of creating new employment opportunities.

According to him, “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 $240billion 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 $20bn annually from the creative industry.

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“With the growing demand for Nigerian music, movies and fashion, across Africa and in various parts of the globe, our creative industries, are spurring innovation, creating jobs, and helping to shape perceptions of Nigeria, as a nation with a strong spirit of creativity and ingenuity. 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.

“Second, given our growing population of close to 200m people, out of which 60 per cent 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.”

He expressed that the Lagos State government has put in place measures that will improve the surrounding infrastructure around the National Theatre. I cannot also fail to recognize members of the Bankers Committee who have worked towards the realization of this handover ceremony.

He noted that dependence on crude oil as a major source of government revenue, as well as foreign exchange earnings, these challenges have served to reinforce the need for stakeholders to promote policies and programs that will enable greater diversification of the Nigerian economy.

He expressed that, “A diversified economy that supports increased productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, while harnessing the talents of our youths in the creative industries, will lead to the buildup of a more resilient economy, that is better able to withstand external shocks, while creating wealth and jobs for our growing population.

“This was a critical factor behind the Bankers Committee decision, following our annual retreat in December 2018, to set up the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative (CIFI), with a major focus on four pillars namely; Music, Movies, Fashion and Information Technology. Our goal is to support startups and existing businesses across these four pillars, as well as foster the development of a Nigeria Creative Industries Centre in four major cities in Nigeria. Towards the realization of this objective the Bankers Committee intend to support this creative venture with about N25billion of initial funding.”

“Our goal for the National Theatre, is to create an environment where startups 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 1 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.

“When they are able to achieve their objective of creating a new music product, a high-quality movie, an IT software application, or a fashionable outfit, the bankers committee will work to ensure that they are able to distribute their work on a larger scale.

“Furthermore, individuals will have the opportunity to showcase their work at the creative industries centre, which will expose them to domestic and external investors that can provide them with additional resources, which would enable production and expansion of their creative works. The supporting facilities such as retail outlets, hotels, entertainment centres, and an international conference centre will also help to reposition the centre as a viable location for high level international meetings and conventions.”

In his address Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said revitalisation of the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu is a step towards making Lagos State a 21st Century economy.

According to him, there is no way the state can be a 21st century economy if the centre piece called the National Arts Theatre is not revitalised.

Sanwo-Olu said that the journey of regenerating the National Theatre started about 10 months ago. He said that the purpose was not to move people out of job, but to create more jobs and boost the economy.

Governor Sanwo-olu said that the entire creative industry and Lagos State in particular, would benefit from the revamping of the National Theatre.

In his remarks, Lai Mohammed described the development as a win-win for every stakeholder, even as he assured workers at the theatre of the safety of their jobs.

He said the planned restoration and upgrade of the iconic National Theatre would generate about 10,000 jobs during and after the restoration.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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