Despite stiff opposition from stakeholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee have announced that it would commence the redevelopment of the National Arts Theatre in Lagos, by January 2020.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while making a presentation on the Bankers’ Final Briefing monitored on Channels Television Business Morning, announced that the Bankers Committee has received presentations from the project consultants.
He said the Bankers’ Committee, having reviewed their presentations, including project numbers and details, set up a governance and trustee committee to oversee the process that would lead to the award of contract for the bid winners.
‘‘The contract award is expected to go through a competitive bid process and that jobs for the commencement of the renovation works for the National Arts Theatre as well as the building and development of a creative hub must start by January 2020’’.
He said the hub would serve as a fulcrum for massive activities and events even after shows must have ended inside the theater.
The CBN boss added that the building of the hub within the National Theater wouldhelp create opportunities for people to come around and undertake different business and economic activities that would help not only to grow the economy of Lagos but that of Nigeria as a whole.
Two Nigerian companies, Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust, had in November, called on the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), and the Board of the National Arts Theatre, to prevail on the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee to cease all plans for the redevelopment of the National Arts Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.
The call came on the heels of recent media reports that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee have been given the go-ahead by the Federal Government to transform the National Arts Theatre Complex and the surrounding fallow ground into a creative industry park.
Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust, who are a part of a consortium comprising a team of international financial institutions and private sector partners, are claiming the rights to develop the structure via a concession granted by the ICRC.
Topwide Apeas Limited, through a letter by its law firm, Associated Attorney, and addressed to the ICRC, copying the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee, stated that they had emerged the preferred bidders to develop the national monument following a series of negotiations that started in 2003 with the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and later the ICRC.
The agreement was sealed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that mandated both companies to jointly execute the project via a harmonised master plan and under the terms of the project endorsed by the BPE and ICRC.