CBN, Bankers Committee Have More Money For Creative Industry

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led by Godwin Emefiele, its governor, and the bankers committee still have more money for the creative industry having disbursed a total of N3.22 billion to 356 beneficiaries across movie production, movie distribution, software development, fashion, and Information Technology (IT) verticals.

In September 2019, the CBN and the banks committed N22 billion to support the growth of the creative industry, under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI). This followed the decision taken by the bankers committee at its annual retreat in December 2018.

With the current disbursement, it implies that about 85.36 percent of the fund is yet to be accessed, said a Lagos based analyst who said Nigerian youth in this sector can leverage this fund to grow their businesses, and thereby contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.

When he assumed office as governor of the Central Bank in June 2014, Emefiele indicated in his inaugural address that the CBN under his leadership will be a people focused central bank.

“We were determined to play an active role in supporting growth in key sectors that could create jobs on a massive scale,” the CBN governor said.

This focus was put to test with the 60 percent decline in oil prices between 2015 – 2017. Given Nigeria’s high dependence on crude oil for over 90 percent of its export earnings and for close to 60 percent of government revenue, the decline in crude oil prices led to a hike in inflation, significant depreciation in the value of the naira , and a slowdown in Nigeria’s growth rate. The Nigerian economy eventually fell into a recession during the second quarter (Q2) of 2016. Indeed, people lost jobs.

To resolve these problems, the monetary and the fiscal authorities made concerted efforts to revive Nigeria’s growth. The CBN also worked hard by putting in place measures that would catalyse growth in sectors that have the ability to absorb the growing labour pool, in addition to reducing import of products that could be produced in Nigeria.

The CBN implemented a number of steps to spur domestic production, some of which includes restriction on access to the foreign exchange market on 41 items (now 43) that could be produced in Nigeria. Through the Anchor Borrowers Program, Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and the Real Sector Support facility, the Apex bank increased its intervention efforts aimed at supporting growth in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Today, under the Central Bank’s development finance initiatives, the Nigerian banking sector regulator has granted N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 small holder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.24 billion was extended for the 2021 Wet Season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP); for the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), the sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries; and for the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

Under the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the Central Bank released N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, of which 4,411 were individuals and 2,646 SMEs.

Under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, the CBN released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects, of which 87 were in light manufacturing, 40 in agro based industry, 32 in services and 11 in mining. On the N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), N98.41 billion was disbursed for 103 health care projects, of which, 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are in the hospital services. Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to 5 beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for Covid-19 and Lassa Fever.

On the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), N36.04 billion was disbursed to 17 Meter Asset Providers, to nine (9) DisCos, for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters. On the Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilization Facility – 2 (NEMSF-2), the CBN released N120.29 billion to 11 DisCos, to provide liquidity support and stimulate critical infrastructure investment needed to improve service delivery and collection efficiency.

In 2016, the creative industry contributed an estimated $11.8 billion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and there are projections that the growing entertainment and media (E&M) market of Africa’s biggest economy will be the world’s fastest by 2021. Broadcasting, motion pictures, music and fashion are some of the highest contributors of the economy, according to Nike Agbakosi, consulting lead at Jobberman Nigeria.

Jobberman research revealed that the creative sector currently employs an estimated 4.2 million Nigerians, making it the second largest employer in the country, and has the potential to create an additional 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

“Our population of almost 200m people is growing at close to 2.8 percent annually, relative to our economy which grew at close to 2 percent in 2018. Secondly, close to 60 percent of our population are under the age of 35, indicating that we have a youthful population that will need to be engaged; and more importantly our youth unemployment rate stands at close to 36 percent,” Emefiele said in 2019.

He said, “With sadness, many of our youths graduate from universities but with no industries to employ them. Rather than roam about, some of these youths are unleashing their creative talents in creating jobs, not only for themselves; but also for others through the music, movie, fashion and IT skills. Distinguished guests, the CBN and bankers committee believe that the little we can do is to create opportunities for these youths to access credit and bank loans to grow their businesses”.

Using the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) fund, through which the banks set aside , on an annual basis , 5% of their Profit After Tax (PAT), the goal of the CBN was to support startups and existing businesses in the creative industry space, as well as the development of a creative industry park across three major cities in Nigeria.

With the kind support of the Federal and Lagos State Governments, Emefiele said the National Theater Iganmu in Lagos is expected to serve as the initial pilot for the Creative Industries Park.

The CBN’s plan was to develop a 40- acre Creative Industry Park around the National Theater including giving the Theater itself tremendous face lift; thereby reopening the touring potential the National theater offered during the FESTAC 77 arts culture.

“Following the deployment of the pilot scheme in Lagos, we intend to set up similar parks in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu,” he said.

Furthermore, he 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”.

The National theater, which is expected to create 35,000 among the youth, would be ready by December 2022, the bankers committee said on August 13, 2021 after its meeting with the CBN.

National Arts Theatre is one of the most iconic buildings in Nigeria built nearly 45 years ago. Addressing journalists after the meeting, Herbert Wigwe, Group managing director/CEO of Access Bank Plc said Work at the National theater has started in earnest.

Giving a recap of the National theater project, he said “the CBN and the bankers committee decided that we are going to support the creative industry as a means of basically getting tens of thousands of our youth out of the street, particularly those who are creative and give them the right to basically explore their creativity and come up with valuable contributions to the system whether it is in IT, fashion, or the film industry or the music industry. We couldn’t find a better place but the National theater”.

The National theater, he explained, was a place to support the creative arts. “It is not just Nigeria’s pride overtime the entire infrastructure has become dilapidated. All of that work is going on. There is a second module to the National theater that has to do with music, fashion, IT, and film industry,” he said.

“The second phase will start shortly. Most of the contracts would be awarded soon in September and we expect the entire project should be completed (National theater and the various extras) and will be ready by December 2022,” Wigwe said.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN had in February this year said the Bankers’ Committee is providing funding for a prototype cluster located to the north of the National Arts Theatre, a development which he labelled the “Signature Cluster”.

He said the facility will be a convenor – providing space, support network, business development and community engagement for the creative, cultural and technology sectors. The Signature Cluster will consist of a building each for Music, Film, Fashion and Information Technology verticals. In addition, a Welcome/Visitor’s Centre, Police and Fire Stations, and structured parking for up to 500 vehicles will be built.

The 44 Hectare site adjourning the National Theatre would be developed and utilised for the development of purpose-built creative hubs for the Fashion Industry, Music and Film as well as IT.

The aim is to deliver a successful creative and entertainment city that will encourage additional investment into Nigeria’s creative industry.

In addition to the four signature buildings, Emefiele said other support facilities include multi-storey parking to accommodate 500 cars (the National Theatre currently has dedicated parking for 250 cars), a police station, a fire station and a visitors’ Welcome Centre.

– Businessday

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