National Arts Theatre already attracting foreign investors — Emefiele
• ‘Complex 65% Completed, To Be Commissioned In November’
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the National Arts Theatre, which is being redeveloped, has started attracting foreign investors’ interest, especially from the United States.
Emefiele said this, yesterday, during an inspection of the project with members of the Bankers’ Committee.
Emefiele was also joined in the inspection by the Lagos State Governor State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and his counterpart at the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare.
Emefiele said the remodeled national heritage would be commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in November, during which the foundation-laying ceremony of the four adjoining verticals – music, movie, information technology and fashion hubs – would be done.
“What we are doing is a total rejuvenation of Lagos State by redeveloping the masterpiece right in the centre of Lagos and linking it with the rail. This project cost the Bankers’ Committee, by our last estimate, about $100m. So, I must say that $100m or more will be invested in the project,” Emefiele said.
He, however, assured that the investment would not go down the drain as every kobo spent in putting life into the 44-year-old complex would be recouped. He noted that foreign investors from the United States and other countries had started showing interest in the opportunities in the centre and the hubs.
He said the commencement of the support hubs was being delayed, as enormous works were going into the dredging and reclamation before the pilling, which would go as deep as 46 metres. The plan, he added, was to have the President unveil the hubs for use before the end of his administration next year.
“It is a business where the money would be realised. I am happy that foreign investors are already showing interest, we have received inquiries even from the United States from investors who are not only interested in the National Arts Theatre but also the creative industry that we are developing,” he stressed.
Sanwo-Olu recalled several trips the team had made before the project kicked off, and stressed the decision to go ahead with the development was in the interest of the country. He appreciated the Bankers’ Committee members for their commitment to the project and expressed confidence that the new theatre would increase Nigeria’s competitiveness in the international creative industry.
The governor said the Hip-hop Award being hosted in Atlanta, the United States, in July was taken outside the country “because there is no place like the National Arts Theatre.
“That will be the last time that that will happen. Subsequently, we will bring Americans back to the new National Arts Theatre. Now you can see that there is a lot of restoration, there are a lot of new things that are coming in and I can assure you that it will be comparable to any facility of its kind anywhere in the world.”
Mohammed said the facility, which is said to be 65 per cent completed, would hopefully host the United Nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in November. He observed that the project “has crossed the Rubicon’’, hence the country could only look forward to a new National Arts Threatre in a matter of months.