The Bank of Industry has sealed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Council for Arts and Culture to provide N300m in loans to the creative industry operators.
The agreement, which was signed in Abuja, will enable the bank to provide the loans at a single digit interest rate to be repaid in three to five years.
The Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, signed the agreement on behalf of the bank, while the Director-General, NCAC, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, signed on behalf of the council.
Olagunju described the agreement as a milestone as it would change the face of the arts and culture industry in Nigeria.
He said the management of the bank was excited to provide funding to the sector owing to its huge job creation potential.
He explained that with the focus of the Federal Government to diversify the economy away from oil, any support to small-scale businesses in the non-oil sector would go a long way in reducing the level of poverty and unemployment in the country.
Olagunju stated, “The MoU will enable us to provide a total sum of N300m as take-off point to support businesses in the art and culture industry. We will be lending to the sector at a single-digit interest rate for a period of three to five years.
“We see this sector as an important sector to stimulate economic activities owing to its job creation potential, and we call on all stakeholders to also support the SMEs by providing a competitive environment so that their operating expense can be reduced.”
Runsewe described the MoU as a milestone in the creative sector, adding that this was the first time that the sector would access funds from a financial institution at a single-digit interest rate.
He said by leveraging the unique potential of the creative industry, the country could diversify the economy away from oil.