The Group Head, Creative Industry, Bank of Industry, BoI, Mrs Uche Nwuka has revealed that the developmental bank has so far disbursed the sum of N72.68bn loan to the creative industry. Content Production has received a disbursement of N2.8bn, Distribution infrastructure, N7.4bn, Media and Publishing, N6.5bn, Production Infrastructure, N1.2bn while the Engineering and Technology sector of the Creative industry got the lion share of N27bn.
She made this disclosure at the just-concluded one-day Engagement Forum with the Creative Industry Practitioner held at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The forum titled Building Investment, Wealth Creation and Healthy Living brought together investment analysts, health practitioners and creative industry practitioner under one roof to talk about how to generate wealth and live a healthy life.
According to Onwuka, going by the unsavoury trends of creative practitioner having to beg for funds whenever they are faced with the uncertainties of life.
According to her “We are at a stage in the industry where whenever the practitioner encounters any little form of health challenges, they cannot handle it on their own, this is why we have come up with this programme with the aim of sensitizing the practitioner on how to take care of themselves, and also make money from investment. Those in the creative industry create products and contents to make people happy, they create contents that bring the people to the theatre and the cinema to make them happy, but have we taken time to look out for the people who create this content? This programme will sensitise these practitioners on how to create wealth, and be healthy. We also hope that this programme will teach them on how to reinvest the proceeds from the content created back into something that will generate more funds for them. They should know that it is not until you have N1m before you can invest” she said.
She further expressed her satisfaction at the turnout and feedback from the practitioners. “Going by the turnout we witnessed today, I am very happy. Do not forget that a major event in the entertainment industry is currently ongoing. The turnout is very impressive and the feedback we have received so far is that they want more,” she said.
Speaking on the impact of the fund on the creative industry, she posited that the impact has been huge while providing a breakdown of the funds disbursed to the sector.
“We are supporting 11 sectors in the creative industry. Before 2011, how many cinemas do we have in the country? In 2012, Kene Mkparu and Kene Okwuosa entered my office and came up with this beautiful idea of opening Cinemas across the country, this was before the first one at Surulere, today how many branches do they have all over the country. Also, look at Genesis Cinema, they have about 11 cinemas across the country, while Viva Cinema is another new entrant into the industry we have stimulated growth in all these sectors. In the area of content distribution, IrokoTV is another beneficiary, we gave him money to turn the business around” she revealed.
Speaking on the forum, actor, filmmaker and producer, Lasun Ray-Eyiwumi was full of gratitude to BoI for such an impactful forum.
“This programme is very important and central to our lives as practitioners in the creative industry. If you look at all the topics, they are very critical to the sector and capable of re-engineering our mindset. Take for example investment, you will find out that most practitioners in the industry take luxury ahead of investment and there is no way you can place a premium on material things ahead of investment without consequences. How do you expect me to spend N700, 000 on a Mobile phone when I have kids to train at the university? They forget that this money used in buying expensive gadgets can be invested and will generate huge returns in the future. Creating wealth is all about how you plan for your future, the investment that you have in place that can take care of you in your old age. No matter how much money you make today as a practitioner, if you are not constructive, all those money will not show. On the health front, we have so many colleagues that do not understand what it means to live a healthy life in terms of what they eat and the activities they partake in. Take for example after a hard day’s job, instead of going home to rest, they partake in activities that do not have any health benefits to their lives. On my part, I do not drink nor smoke neither do I participate in any activities that will not have a benefit on my well-being. All these negative things that most practitioner participates in, I tell them, you are killing yourselves gradually” he told The Culture Newspaper exclusively.
Speaking further, Eyiwunmi has a word of advice for those who doubt the intervention of the BoI Creative Industry Fund to have a rethink.
“It is very simple, it is only those that do not have a concrete plan or have a sinister motive that will doubt the authenticity of the BoI intervention in the creative sector. I am a beneficiary and I can attest to it. There is no bank in Nigeria today that you will approach for a loan and you will not be asked for a collateral or a guarantor and they will also look at your antecedent and also your production plan. Sadly, our people will stand at a distance without anything to present and say that the money is not circulating, their aim is different. When I wanted to apply, so many people discouraged me that I was not going to get anything from them, but the loan I got from BoI assisted me in producing my movie, The Bridge and I am proud to tell you that my film is on Netflix and this has boosted my CV. They also don’t just give you money, the assist you in every area to ensure that the project is successful and take you to a better and higher level” he said.