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TEN thousand jobs will be created as a result of the renovation of the National Arts Theatre, the Federal Government has said.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed spoke on Sunday while handing over the edifice to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said the difice would attract $20 billion annually to the economy after the remodeling is completed in 18 months.
Speaking at the event attended by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare; the Chairman of the Committee of Banks’ CEOs, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Grace Isu Gekpe, among other dignitaries, Emefiele said the CBN-led Bankers Committee would inject N25 billion into the Creative Industries and Financing Initiative (CIFI. Part of the fund will be spent remodeling the theatere.
“Our goal is to support startups and existing businesses across these four pillars, as well as foster the development of a Nigeria Creative Industries Centre in four major cities in Nigeria. Towards the realisation of this objective, the Bankers Committee intends to support this creative venture with about N25 billion of initial funding. The National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Nigeria Creative Industries Centre.
“The National Theatre when fully renovated will be able to support skills acquisition and job creation for over 1 million Nigerians over the next five years. These Nigerians will 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 bankers committee will work to ensure that they are able to distribute their work on a larger scale,” he said.
Mohammed said the Phase 1, which is the restoration and upgrade of the National Theatre to its glory days, would cost N7 billion and Phase II, which involves the development of the adjoining fallow land at a cost of N18 billion.
‘’The good news is that this project will not lead to a single job loss. Instead, it will create more. Some 6,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase, while the completed project could generate up to an additional 600 permanent and 2000 to 3000 call-on/call-off jobs. This is as good as it gets!’’ he said.
Sanwo-Olu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his strong backing to the vision of revitalising the National Theatre.
“For me it is a sense of joy to be part of this noble project of revitalising the National Theatre. It will be a shame on us if we are not doing this for our children and grand-children. The least we can do is what we are doing today to turn it around for another 40 years to come. By this development, we are writing our tomorrow today…It sits with our vision, plan, and thinking of our new Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu said.