The VP coordinating efforts to involve agencies and operators from both public and private sectors*
To spur the development of the entertainment, creativity and technology sectors of the nation’s economy, the Federal Government it plans to inject over N200 billion into financing and investments before the end of the year.
The government has already concluded plans to draw a $500 million financing from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to harness the potentials in the nation’s creative and technology industries.
It was learned at the weekend that the activity would take off by the end of the year, with plans at advanced stage to establish a $500 million funding under the Nigeria Innovation Programme (NIP).
A source close to the Presidency said the NIP is now being activated, especially with a report of the first draft project proposal presented by the AfDB and other stakeholders to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, few days ago.
The VP’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, who confirmed the meeting, said it was public knowledge that the Vice President has spoken publicly about the $500million facility.
Details of how the facility would work were discussed on Thursday at a meeting presided over by the VP and attended by cabinet ministers, representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB), among other stakeholders.
Akande said the plan to get the funding was an outcome of the Technology and Creativity Working Group set up few years ago with members drawn from the private and public sectors chaired by the Vice President.
The Working Group was carved out of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council earlier set up by President Muhammadu Buhari and chaired by the VP.
Some of the Ministers who attended the meeting included the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and the Communications and Digital Economy,
Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
The AfDB was represented by its representative in Nigeria, Lamin Barrow.
The NIP proposed by the Federal Government will close the existing gaps in the technology and creative industries in the country.
It would also seek to boost innovation and job creation, as well as foster growth in the technology and creativity entrepreneurship ecosystem.
The plan to support the NIP, the Ministers said during the meeting, would be to collaborate with the AfDB and other finance partners to set up the $500 million fund
Already, nine states, including Lagos, Osun, Edo, Cross River, Anambra, Kaduna, Adamawa and Plateau have been selected as focus States in the initial arrangement, while Borno, Gombe and Kwara States were recommended by the Presidency for the next phase of the programme.
Also, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is the consultant on the project during its feasibility study, considered potential innovation community and State cluster/innovation blocks in selecting more states, which resulted in the inclusion of Akwa-Ibom, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Enugu, and Oyo States.
The NIP will focus on four development pillars, namely human capital, financing, infrastructure and enabling environment.
Apart from pumping over N200 billion into the technology, creative and entertainment sectors, the NIP would create about 285,000 jobs in both technology and creative industries in the next five years.
VP Osinbajo said at different fora that the government was planning to establish a fund to boost growth in the technology and creative industries.
For instance, in January 27, 2020 at a townhall meeting commemorating 50 years after end of the Nigerian civil war, the Vice President said “we have listened to the voices of some of our young people in the Southeast expressing their discontent, however, we do not hear a battle cry, but rather a cry for help.
“We are determined to continue providing them with the tools and resources that will enable them to make the most of their lives. This is the reason for our collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide a $500 million facility for start-ups and entrepreneurial loans.
“This is aside from the N10 billion fund set aside by the Bank of Industry (BOI) for the same purpose,” he said.