Stakeholders in the Creative Industry on Tuesday in Abuja requested N400 billion Stimulus Capital Funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reposition the sector.
The request was made when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed led a team of the stakeholder on a visit to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Speaking at the event, the Minister said that the creative industry deserved the priority attention of government and the CBN should be the catalyst for its growth.
According to him, It is an industry that the government can do much more to promote.
“I have watched over the years how the CBN has really been the catalyst in promoting agriculture, the health sector and the likes and we believe that the creative industry also deserve this.
“We have make the CBN the first stop in our agenda to enlist the support of government to develop the sector.,” he said.
The Minister said that the industry had completely grown beyond the SME support structure because of its huge infrastructural deficit.
“If you look at the infrastructural deficit in this industry you will see that it need huge amount of capital.
“For instance, Anthony Joshua wished to defend his Boxing Title in Nigeria, but where is the venue to use for that.
“The Music Industry is facing out because there are no concerts, and no venue for concerts.
“So, when we are asking for N400 billion,we are looking at projects which are already in the piping for which the industry needs support,” he said.
Mohammed underscored the need to change the perception of the Creative Industry beyond entertainment, music and films.
He said the creative industry is a very big business that included fashion, photography, interior decoration publishing, software, innovations and many more.
“it is an economy which we have not exploited enough and which is more sustainable and has the potential to employ more people and create more wealth on a longer term.
“We have seen that the economy of many countries is based on the creative industry,” he said.
The minister said that the creative industry all over the world is private sector driven and that informed why he led the creme of the industry on the visit.
Earlier in a presentation titled: “Creative Industry Development Scheme” a member of the team, Chijioke Uwaegbute, said that funding was a big issue for the Creative industry.
He said in order to create the right framework for the sector and bridge infrastructural gap the CBN should made available N400 billion stimulus capital fund for the industry.
He also requested on behalf of the team the creation of a Creative Industry Desk in the CBN to foster better interraction between the industry and the regulator.
He said the creative industy development scheme aimed at creating jobs and building capacity to ensure operation at global standard.
Uwaegbute said that the scheme would help to grow the development profile of Nigeria, facilitate direct foreign investments and reduce capital flight.
He said the target of the scheme is that, by 2025 the creative industry will have 400 per cent increase in contribution to GDP, contribute 20bn dollar to national economy and create 5 million jobs.
“We are using the UK Creative Economy Structure which in 2016 contributed 84 billion pound to the British economy and create 2.9 million jobs translating to 1 in 11 Britons directly or indirectly employed by the industry,” he said.
On his part, Emefiele thanked the Minister for leading the team to his office, noting that the creative industry deserved the attention of government.
“With estimated 200 million population growth of Nigeria by 2020, government cannot continue to be the employer of labour for everyone.
“There is a need for government to provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
“The creative industry is definitely one of the private sector driven industry that the government want to give the support,” he said.
The CBN Governor said that the creative industry had done well in entrepreneur development even with little or no support from the government.
“We have the responsibilities to give you the support. Our development department will work with you,” he said.
Emefiele, however, identified the challenge of piracy which he said had limited the industry access to fund and to be bankable.
“The big problem has always been piracy. Piracy is a leakage that threaten the industry from access to credit.
“Piracy makes nonsense of revenue projection and once a revenue projection is faulted then it makes a project non bankable.
“We need to start from the basics and we will work with the Ministry to protect intellectual property and fight piracy.
“Once we are able to do and strengthen the anti-piracy law, you will be rest assured of our support,” he said.
The CBN Governor said that in the meantime, investors in the creative industry could have access to the SME Fund up to the tune of N2 billion.