The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the Bankers’ Committee for the renovation of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after a meeting of the council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Mohammed said the CBN and Bankers’ Committee were willing to invest N21.89bn to renovate the National Theatre complex.
He said the MoU provided that they would run the facility for 21 years before returning it to the Federal Government.
Describing the development as ‘a landmark approval’, the minister said it would pave the way for investment in the creative industry as part of the resolve of the present regime to create at least one million jobs in the industry in the next three years.
Mohammed said, “The President had in 2020 given approval to the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee to develop, refurbish, renovate the National Theatre and at the same time take over the adjoining lands to create a veritable creative industry where there will be four hubs: one each for films, music, IT and fashion.
“The memo today (Wednesday) was for the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for the refurbishment of the National Theatre.
“The CBN and Bankers’ Committee are willing to invest N21.89bn to renovate, refurbish and commercialise (run it profitably) the National Theatre complex.
“The MoU has a life span of 21 years after which it will revert to government. The important thing is that no job will be lost because after the National Theatre is renovated, a special purpose vehicle will be created to run it.
“It cannot be business as usual; it will be a turning point in the creative industry in the sense that we are going to have a brand-new National Theatre, an event centre that will help in creating more jobs.”
The minister added that the council approved N9.43bn for the completion of the Digital Switch Over, which had previously missed the deadline set for implementation.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed that the council approved about N8.9bn for a new National Information and Communication Technology Park in Abuja to coordinate public and private ICT hubs in the country.
He said a 4,200 square-metre land had already been acquired for the establishment of the park.
He said, “The wisdom behind the ICT Park is for it to be a centre where public and private ICT hubs are going to be coordinated by the Federal Government, where young innovators with crazy and disruptive ideas will be mentored and all what they need provided for.
“We will provide enabling environment for them to utilise and come up with disruptive technologies.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria. We have so many parks and hubs but they are regional. This one will be central and will be a centre of job creation for our teaming youths.
“It will be a centre where technology will be developed and incubated. It will play a significant role in reducing unemployment.”
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said the council approved N8.43bn for the implementation of Damaturu Water Supply Scheme.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk, on her part said the council approved National Policy on Aging.
According to her, the objective of the policy is to ensure that older persons in the society are guaranteed security and independence among others.