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Bankers affirm January 2020 N25b theatre facelift takeoff

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The planned facelift of the National Theatre and development of creative industry hub around it, with upgraded financing of about N25 billion, will takeoff in January 2020.
 
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the nation’s banking industry, under the aegis of Bankers Committee, yesterday, affirmed the move at their 2019 retreat in Ogun State.
 
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing journalists at the end of the retreat, said the bankers have received report from the consultant handling the project and would commence work.The move, which is aimed at lifting the creative industry hitherto challenged by lack of financing opportunities, will focus on fashion, music, IT and movie and will target the development of such facilities in Rivers, Kano and Enugu states.

 
The bankers, riding under the newly introduced Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), will apply the proceeds of the Agribusiness, Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), to pursue the revival of the 40-acre national asset that has become a relic.
 
AGSMEIS is an initiative of the banks in which they set aside five per cent of their profit after tax yearly, with the goal of supporting startups and existing businesses in the creative industry space, as well as the development of a creative industry parks across three major cities in Nigeria.Emefiele said: “What the Bankers Committee is doing is to help revive dead asset or an asset that is currently not well maintained and not able to generate its potential earnings as a result of paucity of funds and good maintenance.
 
“We do not and we are not in the business of managing those kind of assets. We would not and there is no attempt to sidestep staff of the national theatre. However, we will work with them and make sure that we put in place the maintenance culture and arrangement that will give that national theatre and the hub around it so that it would be a tourist attraction not only to Nigerians but to the world.”
 
Meanwhile, the bankers disclosed that they are now fully aware of the risk associated with their business as it relates credit and operations.Emefiele noted: “Cyber risk, which today, is growing in different parts of the world, calls for the banks, the CBN, and the government, to do something about it. The banks have been advised to do more in their management and control of cyber risks.
 
“The banks were also advised to invest more money in tools, whether soft or hardware, that will help them in containing cyber risks in their operational environment.” He also disclosed plans to migrate phone users who are yet to be included in the financial system to a new initiative called BVN Lite.

According to the top banker, the existing Know-Your-Customer (KYC) scheme is part of the new BVN Lite plan, targeted at people who are currently financially excluded in “our rural communities that carry phones, but not having financial services. “With the collaboration of NCC, we are putting this BVN arrangement to allow them conduct minimal financial services. It should be possible for us to migrate this people into the arrangement, where they can conduct minimal financial services, not just banking services, like insurance.”


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