The federal government handed over the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos to the Bankers Committee to revamp for the creative industry financing initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Receiving the edifice on behalf of the Bankers Committee, governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the country’s creative industry hub which the national heritage would become had the capacity to bring in annual earnings of N20 billion.
According to him, “Upon completion in another 18 months, this area would have transformed into Nigeria’s creative industry centre which will be comparable to other world-class entertainment and convention centres in any part of the world. This creative centre which comprises music, movie, fashion and IT can be a source of creating one million jobs.
“With our human capital resources and an enabling environment that will help enhance the creative talent of our youth, Nigeria has the potential to earn over N20 billion annually from the creative industry.”
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who did the handling over on behalf of the federal government, assuring that there would be no job loss noting that the project would create 6000 jobs during the construction and at completion would create 600 permanent jobs and 3000 calls up jobs.
Mohammed whilst noting that the National Arts Theatre which is surrounded by 134 hectares of fallow land would remain a national heritage, said it would encourage performing arts and create opportunities and points of socio-economic development for the country.
He expressed pleasure at the revamping of the edifice noting that it had not been renovated in over 40 years since its inauguration as all attempts to renovate it had failed.
Emefiele on his part stated that the goal for the National Theatre is to create an environment where startups and existing businesses are rewarded for their creativity. According to him, “When fully renovated, the National Theatre will be able to support skills acquisition and job creation for over one million Nigerians over the next five years.
“These Nigerians would 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 banker’s committee will work to ensure that they are able to distribute their work on a larger scale.
Also at the handling over, Lagos State governor, Babanjide Sanwo-Olu said Lagos state would be a major beneficiary of the revamping as it would drive employment as well as the tourism sector.
Whilst commending the President Muhammadu Buhari led government for the initiative, he said the state government would work towards ensuring that all critical infrastructure for the success of the project is made available before completion.
Highlights of the first phase include the upgrade of the theatres (the main halls and cinema halls, conference and banquet halls, press hall and the bar); installation of new seats, upgrade of the sanitary facilities, installation of lifts, acoustics and specialist lightings, as well as replacement of the air conditioning, lighting and plumbing.
Phase II will involve the development of purpose-built clusters to provide world-class for Nigeria’s Creative Industry, with the clusters having four hubs: fashion, music, film, and information and technology (IT) hubs.
The creative clusters will be supported by other facilities, including multi-storey parking to accommodate 1,000 cars, a Visitors’ Welcome Centre which will house commercial and retail facilities, as well as administration and management offices.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months.
Culled from Leadership