From Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee will officially take over the old National Theatre, Iganmu, in Lagos with the intention to turn it into a Creative Industries Park with an initial N22 billion funds under Creative Industry Fund Initiatives (CIFI).
Godwin Emefiele, governor, CBN, disclosed this in Lagos on Monday while delivering a keynote address at the 2019 Creative Sector Summit.
He said the Federal Government would officially hand over the moribund national monument to the chairman of the Body of Bank CEOs and the CEO, Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee.
He added that the Lagos State government has also agreed to hand over 40 acres of land around the National Theatre in Iganmu to the committee for the commencement of works meant to transform it into the proposed creative park.
He said the initiative was meant to harness the innovative and creative energy of Nigerian youths towards enabling them to create productive ventures that would support improved wealth and job creation in Nigeria.
“With the kind support of the federal and Lagos State governments, the National Theatre, Iganmu, in Lagos is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Creative Industries Park.
“Our plan is to develop a 40-acre Creative Industry Park around the National Theatre, including giving the theatre itself tremendous facelift, thereby reopening the touring potential the National Theatre offered during FESTAC 77,” he said.
This, he said, was the critical reason behind the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee’s decision, following the annual retreat in December 2018 to set up the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative (CIFI).
“Using the Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) fund, through which the banks set aside, on an annual basis, five percent of their profit after tax (PAT), our goal is to support start-ups and existing businesses in the creative industry space, as well as the development of a creative industry park across three major cities in Nigeria.
“Following the deployment of the pilot scheme in Lagos, we intend to set up similar parks in Kano, Port Harcourt, or Enugu.
“Our goal, through the establishment of these parks, is to create an environment where start-ups and existing businesses can be incubated and rewarded for their creativity. In each of these parks, efforts will be focused on discovering the most innovative young entrepreneurs across the music, movie, fashion, and IT industries. Each park will be able to support skills acquisition for over 200,000 Nigerians,” he added.
These individuals, according to Emefiele, will be empowered with funds at single digit interest rate, state-of-the-art tools, high level training and networks, that will enable them to turn their ideas into a reality and “when they are able to achieve this objective of creating a new music product, a high-quality movie, an IT software application, or a fashionable outfit, we will work to ensure that they are able to distribute their work on a large scale around the globe.”
He added that the bank and the Bankers’ Committee were cognizant of the fact that a growing creative industry would also support the growth of other sectors of the economy, such as logistic firms, financial service companies, construction firms, as well as legal firms.
“Our CIFI initiative will also enable the development of distribution outlets such as cinemas and music platforms, which will help improve the reach of the content developed by our young entrepreneurs.
“We intend to support the development of over 50 additional cinemas from our current capacity of 48 cinemas nationwide. The cost structure of these cinemas will be lean, in order to make movies affordable to a large section of Nigerians.”
“These measures which will be implemented over a 5-year period will increase the contribution of our movie industry to GDP, from 1 to 3 percent. It will also result in improved revenue generation of over $300 million from production and distribution of Nigerian movies at cinema locations at home and abroad, as well as the creation of over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.”