From Olawale Ajimotokan and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Bank of Industry (BOI) yesterday signed a Memoran- dum of Understanding with the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to promote the art industry in Nigeria. The value of the partnership entered into between the Act- ing Managing Director of BOI, Waheed Olagunju and Director General NCAC, Otunba Oluse- gun Runsewe is put at N300 million. It will allow the bank to lend to arts entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the creative industry at a single digit rate over a medium and long term. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was later presented with a copy of the MoU lauded the agree- ment, saying it would create 200,000 jobs in the sector and similarly serve as a catalyst for the development of the country’s craft industries.
The Minister commended Runsewe for putting together ”this momentous event” just a few days after assuming office as the NCAC DG, and also thanked Olagunju for his support for the Creative Industry. Olagunju noted the part- nership would add value to Nigeriaâ€™s natural endowment, diversify the economy and achieve inclusive economic growth by using local contents and labour. He stressed that officials of the bank would be on ground to ensure that the disbursed loans are well utilised, adding that the bank would partner with traditional rulers to support the arts industry by replicating the role played by the late King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose support allowed arts to thrive in the South-east Asian country. â€˜â€™Some countries earn billions of dollars from the production of handcraft. For instance, Thailand earns between $4-5billlion annually from the export of handcraft.
Through this agreement, we will link our entrepreneurs with foreign market and propel the handicraft industry in Nigeria to the level that has been attained internationally,â€™â€™ Olagunju said. Runsewe described that the partnership as a new dawn for the country in its bid to promote culture as the new oil and create jobs for a mass of unemployed people.