Nigeria’s creative industry is adjudged one of the most vibrant in the world. In 2010, while campaigning for 2011 presidential polls, then President Goodluck Jonathan pledged to create $200 million loan fund to help finance film projects. Also, in the same year, Del York International brought the New York Film Academy (NYFA) to Nigeria to train 400 Nigerians in different aspects of filmmaking. About 122 of those trained are currently doing well in different aspects of the profession.
Nigeria’s creative industry potential valued at over N5 trillion with annual turnover of over N500 billion according to financial experts could be bigger assets than its oil industry. It is against this backdrop the recent move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to intervene to improve access to long term low-cost financing for entrepreneurs and investors in the Nigeria’s creative and information technology (IT) sector is seen by operators as right step in the right direction.
The CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, had introduced the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly among the youth. The initiative stands on four pillars: Fashion, Information Technology (IT) Movie, Music, and Software -Engineering Student Loan. The apex bank is injecting N21.9 billion intervention fund into the creative industry.
The initiative has maximum interest rate of 9 percent per annum –all charges inclusive are applicable to all loan period for the repayment: software Engineering Student loan has three years, movie production and distribution ten years, same with fashion, information technology and music. An investor can access a loan of up to N3m except for movie distribution business which has 500m. The loan covers training and equipment fees, rental/services for music business.
Stakeholders in the industry were of the view that the decision by CBN and bankers’ committee to stimulate these sectors through special funding was a bold step to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship among Nigeria youths while creating the ambiance for national development.
“So, CBN’s CIFI is one critical way of helping Nigerian entrepreneurs to reduce the level of unemployment among youths and improve capacity building in the creative industry, which has the fastest growth rate in the world.
The scheme which will be implemented over a five-year period is expected to create over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, as it will equally increase the contribution of the movie industry to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), from one percent to three percent.
We cannot disconnect the rapid growth in the nation’s creative industry without the emerging digital technology which supports content creation, distribution and consumption, a growing middle class, and supporting industries which are rapidly developing.
This is encapsulated in the pillars of the intervention: Fashion, Music, Film and Information Technology. And the country has a comparative advantage in those areas of the creative economy.
CIFI by CBN will boost job creation and complement other development finance schemes of the bank to accelerate financial inclusion, especially if it is not circumvented by corrupt practices, fraud and those who don’t have businesses in any of the four pillars.
Still on the contribution of the creative industry after the 2013 rebasing of the economy, the film industry sector contributed 2.3 percent (N239 billion) of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The music industry on its part grew by 9 per cent by 2016 to reach a value of 39 million dollars, and is set to grow by 13.4 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) by 2021, with an estimated worth of about 73 million dollars.
Like dog with its tail in- between legs, some artists (es) are already wondering the place of the National Theatre in the schemes; whether CBN’s intervention to the national monument is to buy the edifice and render artists irrelevant or does it want to buy it or turn it into hotel? No, it is to create artistic hub that can be defined as Nollywood. Similar hubs would be set up in Kano, Port Harcourt or Enugu for artists to showcase their works to local and international audiences.