- How The Project Will Boost Lagos’ GDP- Sanwo-Olu
- $100bn Project Will Be Completed By November, Say Mohammed, Emefiele
The bid to restore the National Arts Theater Complex, Lagos, a foremost National Monument to its former glorious state is right on track if the words of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed are anything to go by.
The duo while undertaking an inspection tour of work done so far on the facility expressed optimism that the monument will come back to life by November 2022.
Emefiele also disclosed that the ongoing renovation of the National Arts Theatre is worth about $100 million in funding.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this project is costing the bankers’ committee, by last estimates, about $100 million. More will be invested in this project, but it is going to be a business where the monies will be realized again.
I’m happy that foreign investors are already showing interest.
I want to place it on record that we have received inquiries from the United States from investors who have said that they are interested in taking a look at not just the National Arts Theatre, but also the creative opportunities that we are developing around here.
So, I must say that this is exciting for us at the Bankers’ Committee and also at the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
Emefiele also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would, on the day of the inauguration, lay the foundation for the four verticals –- the music, the movie, IT, and the Fashion hub.
He thanked the Lagos government for actively supporting the project, adding that he was excited with the progress made so far.
“I am getting excited because we are hoping that by the end of this year, there will be some programs and global activities which will be hosted in this complex,” he said.
“We would be talking to art gallery and hopefully by this year, we can bring the art exhibition into this complex because we know that by November, this place will be ready.
“So, in November, we can begin to bring this place back to us again, and then put life into the tourism sector in Nigeria and particularly in Lagos state.”
On his part, lauded the Bankers’ Committee for providing the finances for the project while also commending the Lagos State Government for providing the enabling environment, especially in the areas of rail transportation and the usage of the waterways.
“From what we have seen, a lot of work has been undertaken here since our last visit in December 2021.
We are satisfied with the progress that has been made. We are hopeful. And we have crossed the rubicon.
By the time we come back in two months’ time, we will all see that a lot of work has been buried under,” he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that the renovation project would, “not be an abandoned project”.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu also expressed optimism that the new National Theatre, when fully operational would further help grow the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). He revealed also that it would enable Nigeria to export its talent in the areas of fashion, arts, ICT, and entertainment among others, to Africa and the rest of the world.
“On behalf of my entire millions of youths that are in Lagos, I want to sincerely, through the CBN Governor, thank the Bankers’ Committee; their leadership is the ones that are here today, Mr. Herbert Wigwe and Mr. Segun Agbaje. But I tell you, there are so many of their other colleagues who are actually committed to this project,” he said.
Moreso, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, commended the Lagos State Government and the CBN governor for their dogged commitment to the National Theatre renovation project.
He commended the CBN Governor for ensuring a steady flow of funds for the execution of the project.
The minister particularly expressed happiness that many jobs would be created for the youth in the area of creative entertainment.
Recall that in July 2020, the federal government handed over the facility to the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee for renovation.
This follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and contracts award signing ceremony held between the FG, represented by Lai Mohammed, and the Bankers Committee, represented by Godwin Emefiele.
Speaking at the ceremony, Emefiele had disclosed that the reconstruction and refurbishment of the National theater as well as the proposed Lagos Creative and Entertainment Center will be completed in 15 months, with 35,000 jobs created in the process.
“The idea behind the project christened: “Lagos Creative and Entertainment Centre,” is simple. Firstly, we seek to restore the glory of an iconic building by aligning most of the fabric and equipment, and facilities in the building with the aesthetics of the 21st century, and secondly to develop an ecosystem of creative hubs on the adjoining 44 Hectare parcel of land. This new facility will complement and enhance the National Arts Theatre.
“The Bankers’ Committee is providing funding for a prototype cluster located to the north of the National Arts Theatre, a development which we have labeled the “Signature Cluster”. This 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 to these, a Welcome/Visitor’s Centre, Police and Fire Stations, and structured parking for up to 500 vehicles will be built.
Speaking on the job creation prospect of the project, Emefiele said: “We anticipate that there would be at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs created during the construction of the Lagos Creative & Entertainment Centre. We also project that over 25,000 people would be engaged in different sections of the center when the Signature Cluster is completed, with an anticipated multiplier effect of other job opportunities.”