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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.



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]

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.

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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.

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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.

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.”

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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]

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    Business News

    CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021

    The CAC is prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.



    CAC, Corporate Affairs Commission selects NIPOST as official courier partner

    The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.

    This is coming after CAC had in November 2020, announced the implementation of new technology that will change the face of business registration including allowing customers to print their certificates with verifiable QR code from anywhere in the world.

    This disclosure was made by the Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Abubakar, at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.

    In order to achieve this target, the Registrar-General said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.

    Abubakar noted that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.

    He, however, pointed out that CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50% of its workforce.

    While bidding farewell to Seriki, the Registrar-General said he received the news of his appointment with mixed feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.

    Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

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    In case you missed it

    • The CAC recently announced the upgrade of its website and online registration portal to include features, which allow for the automation of some selected services and processes, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
    • The selected services and processes include Electronic search of company records, Upgraded Companies Registration Portal for Pre-incorporation filings and Post incorporation filings.


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    Corporate deals

    DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services

    Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.



    Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.

    The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.

    Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.

    READ: Shola Akinlade: The inspiration behind Paystack’s success

    Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.

    Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.

    This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.

    READ: From Chemist to Bank CEO – The Story of Uzoma Dozie

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    What they are saying

    Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.

    READ: Bill Gates holds far more cash than Nigeria’s foreign reserve

    Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”

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