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Bankers’ Committee takes over 40 acres National Arts Theatre to build CIP

As part of efforts to take the current Nigerian Nollywood global rating as the second largest movie industry after India’s Bollywood, the Nigerian Bankers’ Committee (NBC) weekend took possession of ownership documents of the National Art Theatre, Igamu from the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the development of Creative Industry Park (CIP). The NBC is the lead body of all banks’ GMDs operating in Nigeria

The National Arts Theatre is a national monument that is listed as a historical tour destination in the country having featured prominently in the FESTAC 77 Cultural festival held in Nigeria and has since then, become a shadow of its self due to lack of maintenance and effective use.

Business Hilights gathered that the takeover of the National Theater was in line with plans to establish creative hubs in major cities across the country as part of federal government’s plan to grow foreign exchange and job creation through the creative industry.

Accordingly, the banks are expected to donate five per cent of their profit after tax (PAT) to “support startups and existing businesses in the creative industry space with the development of the creative industry park across three major cities in Nigeria. The National Arts Theater, Iganmu in Lagos is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the creative industry park in Nigeria.

The understanding leading to the new development indicates that the banks will use their five per cent of their profit after tax (PAT) to develop the 40 acres creative industry park around the National Arts Theatre.

Recall that the Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele had on Monday last week while speaking in Lagos at the Creative Summit in Lagos said, President Muhammadu Buhari had consented to handing over the monument to the Bankers Committee.

Addressing the media shortly after a tour of the complex in company of the Lagos State Governor and officials, chief executive of Access Bank and chairman of Board of Bank CEOs, Mr Herbert Wigwe made it clear that “the rehabilitation of the National Arts Theatre was in line with federal government’s vision of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.”

Wigwe, whose bank had been in the forefront of promoting the Creative Industry Finance Initiative (CIFI), a seamless facility access for players in the creative sub sector of the economy, averred that “The creative village that is being created would provide employment for at least a million Nigerians, who have skills in music, IT, movies, etc.

“We are beginning to think of the multiplier effects – one million direct youths – it may mean that we may have 20 million youths taken out and given proper jobs.

“We have been to several countries in the continent; none of them have an edifice like this. Now, ours is derelict, but we believe in two years, working under the auspices of the CBN governor, we would be able to raise the requisite private sector funds to support and give this centre a proper facelift.

According to him, “Today is just an assessment to see what is going on here and what we can create and fine-tune the design, so that actual work can begin.

While revealing that “We are working with a body called SANEF, which is an institution that holds the interest of the entire banking,” Access Bank boss disclosed that “The entire banking industry working with the Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Arts and Culture, to ensure that we give grace to our country within the next two years.”