Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the decision to hand over the national theatre to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the bankers’ committee is because the federal government doesn’t have the required funds for its renovation.
Lai disclosed this during an interview with Radio Nigeria on Thursday, which was monitored by NAN.
On July 12, the federal government formally handed over the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, to the CBN and the bankers’ committee for renovation.
The handover followed an approval by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2019.
Speaking on the decision, the minister said the mational theatre hadn’t benefitted from any major renovation for over four decades.
“The handover of the national theatre to the CBN is one of the many steps by government to reposition the creative industry,” he said.
“For more than 43 years, there has been really no serious renovation as a result of lack of fund by the government and the edifice is in a sorry state.
“Several attempts to privatise or concession the edifice either before or during my tenure as minister has failed, and the truth of the matter is that government has no money to embark on the renovation.
“Therefore, when the CBN made the offer, we saw it as a golden opportunity to return the national theatre to its glory days.”
He assured the management of the national theatre and other stakeholders that the renovation will not lead to job loss, noting that about 6,000 jobs would be created at the reconstruction and revamping stages, while an additional 2,000 jobs would be provided when the project is completed.
He also said the rehabilitation of the national theatre would boost the potentials of the creative and entertainment industry, as about 142 fallow hectares around the edifice would go to the CBN and the banker’s committee to construct Lagos creative and entertainment city, with film, music, fashion and information technology (IT) hubs.
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