Nigerian entertainers

…as Access bank takes first step to actualize programme

By YUSUF MOHAMMED

There are contrasting views over the Central Banks’ Creative Industry Financing Initiative. While older practitioners in the creative industry have hailed it as a right step in the right direction, newcomers are complaining that the requirements to access the loans are too stringent and “unrealistic” for them.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in its efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria has collaborated with the Bankers’ Committee to develop a Creative Industry Financing Initiative. The CBN, two months ago said that under the CIFI loan initiative, beneficiaries could get as much as N500m loans at nine per cent interest rate.

It noted that the creative industries that could apply are fashion, Information Technology, movie production and movie distribution, music and software engineering student loan.

The apex bank stated, “Software engineering students can get a loan of up to N3m, N30m for movie production business, N500m for movie distribution business, cover your rental/service fees for fashion and Information Technology business, cover your training fees, equipment fees, and rental/service fees for music business.”

The CBN advised interested applicants in the creative industry to submit applications to their banks for approval and disbursement. It also urged them to prepare the business plan or statement on how much they required for the business.

According to the CBN, the banks will discuss the request and provide the money.

“The maximum interest rate of nine percent per annum (all charges inclusive) is applicable to all loans,” it stated.

On the period for the repayment of the loan, it said, “For software engineering student loan, it is a maximum of three years. For movie production and distribution, it is a maximum of 10 years. For fashion, Information Technology and music, it is also a maximum of 10 years.”

Nigerian banks had expressed their commitment to ensure that players in the creative industry have access to the funds under the CBN Creative Industry Financing Initiative.

One of such banks is Access Bank Plc. Last week, the bank organized a two-day forum at its head office in Lagos which was attended by stakeholders from four sectors of the creative industry, namely, fashion, music, movie and Information Technology. The first tranche of the CIFI loan has over N20bn set aside to be disbursed to borrowers within the creative industry.

The first day of the forum was attended by players in the music and movie industries, while the second day had participants from the Information technology and the fashion industry. In the interactive session, Access Bank’s representatives on the panel answered and explained the loan eligibility requirements.

The Executive Director, Business Banking, Access Bank, Chizoma Okoli, assured the various industry players that CIFI would be a great boost for the entertainment industry.

She said, “CBN”S Creative Industry Financing Initiative was developed to support the creative sector and to enable the sector build capacity and create more jobs.

“Access Bank, being the first bank to have successfully submitted its application to the CBN, understands the necessary documentation required to access this loan. This is why the bank put together this two-day forum to help our customers by simplifying and guiding them through the loan process.”

“Access Bank understands the necessary documentation needed to access this loan and that us why this forum has been put together to simplify and guide you, our guests and customers through the process,” she reiterated during the forum,” she reiterated at the forum.

Some of the requirements are: at least two credit reports for the company and each director. Three years audited accounts for existing companies, statement of affairs for start-ups and companies with less than three years of existence. Provision of evidence of any of the following: Minimum equity of contribution – 30%, legal Mortgage, all Asset Debenture or Personal Guarantee.

Veteran Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze lauded CBN for this initiative. Speaking at the event, he said, “The creative industry is one of the drivers of the Nigerian economy. I must commend the CBN for this brilliant idea. It would not only boost movie production, it would also create employment opportunities for our teeming youth.”

While old timers seemed to be excited about this initiative, those who are new in the creative industry and technology are not satisfied with the requirements to get the loan to start.

Olarenwaju who runs Golden tech said “the requirements are ambiguous. It is obvious that they did not have the youth in mind when they came up with this initiative. How do they expect me to get three years audited accounts for existing company when I just started my company seven months ago?”

“A lot of people would get the loans. On the other hand, a lot of people would not be able to get it. It is not that they are not skilled enough. It is just that they have not run a company long enough to be able to get loans based on any of the categories,” he said.

Eze Ikechukwu, CEO of Ice Techy also frowned at banks requirement for this loan. Speaking with BusinessHallmark, he said, “This is the way they discourage young people from going into business. There are so many talented youths in Nigeria. Go to social media and see the level of ingenuity. Be it in tech, fashion or entertainment? Now with these requirements, how does a young person who wants to own a record label start?

“What about those who have comedy skills or educational skills on Youtube? Some of them need money to start their own companies. I think they need to consider up and coming entrepreneurs or those who want to start business from the scratch when coming up with such initiatives in the future.”

Amaka Orah who is a makeup artist and fashion designer, was of the view that young people are not encouraged with bank requirements for loans.

“I was excited when I first heard the news about CBN financing those in the creative industry and tech. I did not waste time in going to my bank to know the requirements. I was disappointed when I found out the conditions. They always consider the upper class in any of their schemes. They have no faith in those of us who aspiring to be business moguls,” she expressed.

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