Akeem Lasisi and Olusola Fabiyi

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday announced the establishment of a $1m venture capital to boost the Nigerian creative industry.

Mohammed made this known in Lagos at the opening of a two-day workshop on the creative industry financing, where the Minister of Finance, Mrs.  Kemi Adeosun, also pledged support for the sector.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar; Minister of Information and Communication from the Republic of Niger, Hadjia Koubra Sani, and many creative industry practitioners were in attendance at the forum.

According to Mohammed, 20 people, each investing $50,000, are expected to help to make up the required amount.

He said so far, five people had volunteered to invest $50,000 each, and expressed the optimism that more investors would join.

The minister stated that the $1m venture capital would provide seed money for young and talented Nigerians to set up businesses in the industry.

In his welcome address, Mohammed said the workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the Think Tank Media to pave the way for a golden era for the sector.

He said, “From my interactions with stakeholders since assuming office, one issue has stuck out like a sore thumb. Lack of access to financing is a major bane of the industry. Instead of just lamenting over this, we have decided to tackle the problem headlong, hence the decision to host this conference.

“I have no doubt that at the end of the series of events here, we will be able to come out with a way forward that will surely boost the industry.”

He noted that the government was paying attention to the industry because of its capacity to create a million jobs in three years, boost the economy and allow the creative talents of the youths to blossom.

He listed the efforts so far made to re-position and transform the industry to include the National Summit on Culture and Tourism, held in Abuja last year; the Creative Industry Roundtable held in Lagos last week, and the Memoranda of Understanding signed with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the British Council and the Bank of Industry.

Adeosun commended the filmmakers, musicians and other members of the sector for building an industry with little or no support from the government.

She said that although the President Muhammadu Buhari administration did not believe in giving grants, it would create an enabling environment and establish infrastructure that would revolutionise the creative sector.

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