The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee will on Wednesday commence the implementation of the N22 billion Creative Industry initiative with the takeover of the National Theatre.
Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, disclosed this Monday in Lagos while speaking at the creative Nigeria summit, adding that a 40 acre creative industry park will be developed around the National Theatre with similar parks to be located in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu.
The iconic National Theatre, a symbol of the arts industry in Nigeria, was built in 1976 and hosted the First World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, popularly known in the country as FESTAC. but over the years it had been neglected and fell into a state of disrepair and no longer served its symbolic purpose of being a home of arts and culture. Theatre and stage performances at the National Theatre fell over the years and and major theatre performers who used it to showcase their works no longer saw it as significant to project their works.
But Emefiele, who has seen as a major part of his tenure as central bank governor, the pursuit of a developmental agenda, said the creative industry initiative, which is aimed at unlocking the creative talents of Nigerian youths, is designed to generate 800,000 jobs in the movie, music and fashion sectors, as well as increase the revenue of the industry by $300 million.
He said the banking industry, through the initiative, which would be implemented over a five year period, will support the development of 50 additional cinemas, and increase the contribution of the movie industry to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to three percent from the current level of one percent.
Emefiele said: “Our goal through the establishment of these parks is to create an environment where startups 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. These individuals 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.
“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.
“So far, the CBN and the Bankers Committee intend to support this creative venture with N22 billion of initial funds. Part of our efforts in the music and movie industry will be to support young entrepreneurs in the development of digital content at the park. 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 five-year period, will increase the contribution of our movie industry to GDP, from one to three per cent. It will also result in improved revenue generation of over $300m 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.