FG hands over National Theatre to banks for renovation

The Federal Government has handed over the National Theatre at Iganmu, Lagos State to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee for rehabilitation.

During the handover ceremony on Sunday, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bankers were aiming to create one million jobs from the project in the next five years.

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

Emefiele said after the completion of the renovation works at the National Theatre, along with the supporting facilities that would be built around it, the banking sector intended to set up similar creative industries centres in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu.

According to him, the supporting facilities include a hotel and an expansive conference centre.

While thanking the Federal Government for its support, he said, “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 one million Nigerians over the next five years.

“These Nigerians will be empowered with funds at single-digit interest rate, high-level training, using state-of-the-art tools and networks that will enable them to turn their ideas into 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.”

Towards the realisation of this objective, he said the Bankers’ Committee intended to support the creative venture with about N25bn of initial funding.

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.

While speaking at the event, Mohammed said it was the first time the facility was going through rehabilitation in 40 years.

Sanwo-Olu also assured the bankers of the state’s support toward realising the set objectives.
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