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FG hands National Theatre over to CBN, Bankers Committee

FG has given approval to CBN and the Bankers Committee to reconstruct the National Theater, Iganmu, Lagos, into a world-class convention center.

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National Theatre

The federal government has given approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee to reconstruct the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, into a world-class convention center.

The development is meant to boost the growth of the creative sector in diverse areas like entertainment, movie, music, fashion, and ICT.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the handover ceremony, explained that the creative village will become the destination for tourism, entertainment and commerce, thereby creating more jobs and wealth for Nigerians.

After an inspection tour of the facility, Governor Sanwo Olu urged the Bankers Committee and the development partners to try and redeem the land surrounding the center.

[READ MORE: Sanwo-Olu announces Lekki/Ikoyi toll gate to fully go cashless]

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Governor Sanwo Olu said the President had been gracious to give the go-ahead and turn the national theatre, considered to be a dead asset, into an income-earning state-of-the-art, developed fashion entertainment industry. He said,

“We have worked around this entire land area inhabiting the national edifice called the National Arts Theatre. What we have come to ascertain for ourselves is to also appreciate the extent of an asset that has been conceived as a non-income earning asset, but I there say that Mr. President has been gracious to give the go ahead and turn this dead asset into an income-earning state of the art developed fashion entertainment industry.

 “What we have gone around to ascertain for ourselves is the piece of land measuring in excess of about 30 hectares which currently as you can see is all swamp and is all grown within the heart of Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu announces Lekki/Ikoyi toll gate to fully go cashless

“What we have come to see is for us to be able to give the go-ahead, working with all of the other stakeholders and our development partners which is led by no other person of the governor of the central bank himself, who are putting investments together to be able to do a first of its type entertainment, fashion, music, technology,  movies and an all-round creative hub.”

“We have gone round and it is to see how we can make this place a tourism destination for the future, an entertainment destination for the future and a technology destination for the future where the teaming youth of Nigeria can come and exhibit all their God-given skills and talent and even be able to bring up new ones and turn it into a hub where all of us as Nigerians can be truly proud of.

“So, I’m excited and happy about the kind of field we have seen here today just so we can start the regeneration of this whole area and that is why we are here. And if we have the chance to also touch the national art theatre whilst doing that, so be it but the first point of call is to develop the land surrounding this whole place,” he added.

Receiving the Edifice on behalf of the Bankers Committee and development partners, the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed that when fully developed, the edifice would be 10 times the size of the Convention Center in Peru.

Emefiele who commended President Buhari for his foresight in transforming the National Arts Theatre into a high revenue-generating hub stressed that under the CBN Creative Industry Financing  Initiative, a hub would be built around the edifice to accommodate talented youths so that they can develop their God-given gifts.

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He urged workers at the theatre not to panic over the takeover, as a mechanism has been put in place to protect their interests including securing their jobs. He said,

“About three years ago we were at Peru and I can tell you that if this is developed, this asset will be ten times the kind of convention centre that we saw in Peru, and that is the reason we said that the youth need a chance.

[READ MORE: CBN to commence disbursement of N500 million fund to creative sector]

“We need to give the youths of this country a chance. That is why under our Creative Industry Financing  Initiative we said, for those who want to so fashion, those who are into movie, IT, and entertainment industry, we will build a hub around this art theatre edifice to accommodate them so that they can develop their God-given gift.

“I can imagine what this place will look like in another two years. Every weekend if there will be something happening, it will boost the tourism potential of Lagos state and Nigeria.”

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eddie Onyibor

    October 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Good idea but actionshould be louder than sound

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Hospitality & Travel

COVID-19: Transcorp Hotel loses about N1 billion every month- CEO

Transcorp Hotels has seen its revenues ravaged by COVID-19 induced lockdowns and implementing measures to save itself from further losses

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Transcorp Hotels, owners of one of Nigeria’s largest hotel Transcorp Hilton reports it loses about N1 billion every month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director/CEO of Transcorp Hotel Plc, Dupe Olusola, during an interactive session on Thursday. According to her, the management of the hotel met and decided to ensure that it kept costs down by restructuring its business strategy, diversifying into asset-light business models, and reducing the workforce, among others.

Olusola further disclosed that the company had suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment, as well as reduced its energy consumption and maintenance costs. She also confirmed Transcorp will be cutting back on all capital investments this year and in the foreseeable future until the outlook for the economy improves.

The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest-hit since the Covid-19 broke in late February. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics also reveal the sector contracted by as much as 40% in the second quarter of 2020, officially falling into recession.

Nairametrics participated in the stakeholder’s session and noted a few critical remarks from the interview.

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Below is the excerpt of the interview session:

How much has COVID-19 eaten into the fabric of Transcorp Hotels?

We had a drastic decline of over N9 billion. In March alone, we witnessed a N456 million loss. We have to remember that in March, there was a partial lockdown when everyone was trying to figure out what was happening. We were at N1.03 billion loss in April alone and this has continued to be the story every month. In June, we dropped by about N840 million.

How will this development (loss) affect your staff strength?

We struggled to ensure that we would not ask people to go initially, that was our priority. We keep a 50% pay cut for staff that is not working and 100% for the ones working. To keep the business running, we definitely have to let go of at least 40%.

We engaged the staff Unions, both the Junior and Senior staff, before the implementation of that. We will ensure that employees are properly taken care of. The occupancies we have now are below 30% and with that, it’s impossible to have everyone around.

What is important to us is that we must ensure we are able to keep the hotel running as a national asset, because it has been in existence for over 30 years.

We have ensured that we keep as many jobs as we can within this time frame, so this is an opportunity for us to engage the media and carry you along before such exercise. We have engaged actively with our employees and other key stakeholders. At the occupancy level that we are seeing, it is impossible for us to sustain the employees that we have to keep our doors open.

Precisely, how many will you lay off?

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It is definitely a great burden to even consider a lay-off but we don’t have a choice but to keep the business afloat. We have over 1,000 staff and it appears we will not need more than 400 staff to ensure we keep the hotel running. What is happening is beyond everybody and it is just a situation we have found ourselves in.

What is your outlook for 2020, any hope of returning to the pre-COVID era?

We expect to get to the pre-COVID era by 2024 globally, because it requires the gathering of the people in preparing for events, etc. The new normal is real. We expect things to go back to what they used to be in Nigeria by 2024 also. We are not expected to do more than 30% of our occupancy this year and that is significantly low, and by this time next year, we don’t expect to see anything more than that. So, this is our trying time.

Strategy to sustain Balance Sheet before the end of 2020

We are a hotel business, the food, room and the events we hold are our sustainers. We are definitely going to end at a loss in 2020. As I said, COVID will still be around in 2024. We will try as a business to be innovative, to look at different ways. We are reporting losses of almost N1 billion on a monthly basis and this is significant to us. We hope they can come up with some vaccination to help reduce the impact of the pandemic so that businesses can begin to pick up.

Any palliatives from the government to hotels?

Governments across the world have given palliatives to hotels, but here there is no such package for big hotels in Nigeria. We have engaged at all levels of government on payroll support, tax rebate, support for employees, actively and widely as possible. Yet, these have not yielded any support, unfortunately. This is really why we have gotten to the point of disengaging our own staff. We have not seen any support from the government to actually help us.

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How do you aim to restructure your loans and are there plans to raise funds?

This year is really just about losses. We have met with our stakeholders and lenders to work out how we can restructure our loans, considering some palliatives CBN brought on board like interest rate of 5%. We met the Bank of Industry (BOI) to get interest rates on our loan reduction. Some of these got a couple of positive responses. We are also considering raising funds through the right issues. We are raising N10 billion in order to pay off some of our existing obligations.

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How will virtual tools affect your business model and future plans?

We are working round the clock to bring in solutions in line with the new normal to our guests and customers. How do we provide what they are looking for? How do we provide physical and virtual conferencing? We have also come up with Drive-in Movie Cinema, among others. We are going to ensure we run asset-light strategies to bring in new initiatives that can continue to help us remain standing in the business.

On our future plans, we have suspended our expansion plans. For instance, we initially planned to set up hotels in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, which has been suspended for now. Also, we suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reduced our energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Bottom Line: The hotel faces a tipping point and as things stand survival is what is its priority.

  • To do so the hotel will have to make tough decisions some of which as job cuts, reduction in overheads, and suspension of capex related activities.
  • This will be a very painful restructuring process for the hotel group but it appears this is the only way it can survive.

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Financial Services

CBN grants Greenwich Trust Limited operational license for merchant banking

CBN has upscaled Greenwich Trust Limited to the status of a merchant bank.

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CBN grants Greenwich Trust Limited operational license for merchant banking, NSE Market Data, NSE records total transactions of N121.99 billion in August , 2019 events in the Nigerian capital market and outlook for 2020, Why you might need a capital market lawyer

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has upscaled Greenwich Trust Limited and granted it, operational license for merchant banking in the country.

According to an official statement released by the firm, the entity would be known as Greenwich Merchant Bank Limited. This license allows Greenwich Merchant Bank to upscale and offer such diverse services as corporate banking, investment banking, financial advisory services, securities dealing, treasury wealth and asset management, etc., making it possible to provide increased value to stakeholders beyond its previous scope.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Recall that the minimum capital requirements for establishing a merchant bank according to Merchant Banking Licensing Regulations in 2010 are N15 billion

(READ MORE: CBN debits banks N216.1 billion for CRR compliance)

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With the addition of Greenwich Merchant Bank, Nigeria now has six merchant banks. The others are; FBN Quest, Coronation Merchant Bank, DSH Merchant Bank, Nova Merchant Bank and Rand Merchant Bank.

About Greenwich Trust Limited

Greenwich Trust Limited is an investment banking firm duly registered with relevant authorities such as the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is a diversified firm with subsidiaries such as Asset management, GTL Properties, GTL Securities Limited, Cedar Express Limited and Meyer Plc.

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Business News

Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

UAE’s Emirate Airline has been banned from operating in Nigeria.

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Just in: FG bars Air France, KLM and other foreign airlines, FG to spend N13 billion for automation projects in 4 airports, domestic flights, international passengers, Coronavirus: FG enforces immediate screening of travellers at airports with new directive

Emirates Airline has been added to the list of airlines which have been banned from operating in  Nigeria. The ban will take effect from the 21st of September.

This was announced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in a social media statement on Friday.

“The PTF subcommittee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept 2020.” Sirika stated.

This comes as the UAE government has been accused of not renewing visas of Nigerians in Dubai and also rumours of a VISA ban for Nigerians applying for visas.

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Last month, the UAE embassy in Nigeria denied there is a VISA ban on Nigerians entering the Middle Eastern country. They said: “At the onset of the COVlD-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas for all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.

After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of travelling to the UAE. This includes those visiting from Nigeria.”

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