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Apex bank lifts culture, creative industry with intervention fund

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Director Generals of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe

The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has deepened its commitment to the Creative, Culture Industries (CCIs).

Recently, through the country’s apex bank, CentralBank of Nigeria (CBN), it introduced the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) as a way to empower industry practitioners.

The problem of unemployment remains a menace in spite of efforts at tackling it by the current administration; thus, the need for more jobs is paramount.

CCIs want to create more jobs. Recall that the administration of President Buhari, hinging on diversification policy, have seized various fora to persuade Nigerians on the need to jettison the oil sector in the effort to create jobs and embrace agriculture or the creative industry owing to its capacity for massive job creation.

The initiative was developed by the CBN in collaboration with the Banker’s Commitment.

Only on Thursday, June 13, 2019, the Bankers Committee of the apex bank said it was set to commence the disbursement of funds under the financing initiative.

The decision to commence disbursement of funds was made at the end of the committee’s meeting held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.

Present at the meeting were chief executives of all the Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria as well as other top officials of the apex bank.

The CBN had stated that under the CIFI loan initiative, beneficiaries could get up to loans at nine per cent interest rate.

CBN noted that the entrepreneurs that could apply include those involved in fashion designing, information technology, movie production, movie distribution, music and software engineering.

The new initiative is an indication of government’s commitment to lifting CCIs. Earlier, the Buhari government had included the creative industry in its pioneer status.

Pioneer status is a fiscal incentive provided under the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act, Cap I7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (IDA).

Eligible companies operating in designated pioneer industries and or producing pioneer products, which apply for and are granted pioneer status, are entitled to income tax holiday for up to five years – three years in the first instance, renewable for an additional maximum period of two years.

In addition to income tax holiday, pioneer companies enjoy other benefits, such as the exemption of dividends paid out of pioneer profits from withholding tax.

The Ministry of Information and Culture, in 2017, created a $1 million venture capital fund to assist with better access to finance for stakeholders within the industry.

As with most sectors across the economy, poor access to finance poses obstacle to sustained growth across the sector’s value chain.

Culture is both an enabler and driver of sustainable development. Cultural and creative industries (CCIs) generate yearly revenues of US$2.250 billion and global exports of over US$250 billion.

Moreover, these sectors often make up around 10 per cent of national GDP and employ more people aged 15 and 29 than any other sector. Culture has also the potential to enable key development goals.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has commended the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for developing CIFI.

Runsewe, who gave this commendation in Abuja, said that the Initiative would allow investors in the creative industry access loan up to N500 million with nine percent interest rate.

He noted that this initiative would greatly boost the industry and enhance the capacity of key players in the sector to optimize their potentials.

The NCAC boss added that more than 10 countries of the world have used similar initiative to fight poverty, unemployment, crime and youth restiveness.

“With this noble and patriotic initiative, the CBN Governor has clearly demonstrated his commitment to President Buhari’s economic development agenda with emphasis on diversification and job creation,” Runsewe said.

He stated that as one of the highest employers of labour, if the culture creative industry were fully developed, it would not only create mass employment, but also stimulate rapid socio-economic growth and development.

Runsewe called on key players in the industry to take advantage of the opportunity of the facility to develop and strengthen their businesses.

He also enjoined prospective beneficiaries of the facility to ensure that they comply with the terms and conditions of repayment.


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