In an effort to foster economic growth and youth employment in Nigeria, the Bakers’ Committee, a body of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Deposit Money Bank (DMBs), has resolved to finance the creative, fashion and Information Technology (IT) sectors.
The Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, made the disclosure at the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja recently.
While speaking to Newsmen in Abuja, he noted: “After deliberations we identified the creative and ICT sectors as a critical sectors to support social and inclusive growth in Nigeria.”
According to Wigwe what Bankers’ Committee wants to do, is how to help provide relevant infrastructure, funding that industry participants will use to create relevant infrastructure and shared facilities at every vertical that I have mentioned.
“Basically we found out that these sectors will provide and generate significant number of employment and given how Nigerians in the creative sector have done well in Nollywood, music etc.
“It will have significant impact on employment creation as well as GDP and of course Nigeria can be become the heart of tourism if the whole sectors are handled very well.
“ It could also be a source of foreign exchange earning if we invest significantly in these sectors.”
Wigwe identified the movie industry, music industry; fashion industry and IT as vertical sectors that would be supported with lots of resources.
In the music sector, they have found the re-creation of music academy and in the IT sector, several Tech hubs were to be created.
As far as fashion, the creation of a world class fashion shared facility would be ideal.
“People in that whole sector can basically share a number of facilities that would enable them produce world class standard fashion.”
These efforts Wigwe said “would happen before the beginning of next quarter where different participants working together with international organisations by basically building relevant infrastructure and different content in whatever they do.”
He said: “It would require funding at reasonable interest rate and appropriate structures to make sure those industries become profitable in their various value chains.”
Dr. Mudasiru Olaitan, Director of Development Finance Department (DFD) of the CBN said: “In Nigeria today we have almost 37.5 million SMEs and most critical factors that affect their growth apart from finance is power.’’
“ The Bankers Committee is looking at how to work with Rural electrification authority and the CBN to see how power can be deployed to power service providers and provide power to the SMEs.
“The process has commenced with pilot programmes at Ariaria market, Sabongeri and Iponri in Lagos.
“We are looking at how we can deploy about 10,000 mini orbits to the SMEs and is going to further boost our fashion industry and creative industry. If each SME can create about five jobs, multiplied by about 37 million, it is going to be of huge impact on job creation and it will reflect on economy growth.”
Also, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, Managing Director of Unity Bank, stated: “Apart from creating jobs and increasing the GDP, this initiative is an avenue for youths empowerment.
“If you look at the demographic of those who contribute to the sectors that was mentioned, two of them are youths. This will further promote youth empowerment which is a key driver of one of the key goals of the economy.”