Scrap Creative Industry Financing Initiative

by Bob Etemiku

Scrap Creative Industry Financing Initiative, CIFI, CERLSI petitions FG

Benin City, Nigeria…The Civil Empowerment & Rule of Law Support Initiative, CERLSI, has urged the Federal Government to scrap the Creative Industries Financing Initiative, CIFI, a programme run by the CBN on behalf of the Federal government to advance loans to struggling artists, musicians, web developers and fashion designers.

The petition is a policy brief, Looted Nigerian Art: Before their Return, authored by CERLSI, and which highlighted areas the Federal Government must look to, to encourage the return of looted Nigerian works of art in museums in Europe and the Americas. According to the CERLSI document, there is increased interest in Europe, to return looted art works from Nigeria but that such interest is usually frustrated by the general disinterest in the return of precious works of arts by successive Nigerian governments.

BBC report

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, author of the brief said that nobody anywhere gives loans to struggling artists or creative individuals with a payback condition. ‘Because of the crucial role culture plays in the overall development of a nation, countries usually use residencies as drivers of artistic talent and potential rather than with payable loans to creative people. They use these residencies as hubs and fund them like angel investors to nurture the creative potential of any writer or artist of fashion designer who meets a certain set of requirements’, Mr Etemiku said.

What even makes the idea of payable loans from the CBN to the creative industries awkward is that there are a set of requirements that a creative person must meet to access the CBN loans. Some of those conditions include that the applicant be registered with the government, submit a comprehensive business proposal, come up with a credit bureau report with no unpaid obligations and a satisfactory credit risk management systems, CRMS, report. Even though the conditions try to stimulate creative people to become business savvy, they are not arts friendly. They look like conditions that artists and creative people are not expected to meet, and therefore creating a leeway for corruption in the CBN.

Other issues which the CERLSI policy brief highlighted, to stimulate the return of looted Nigerian works of art from museums in Germany, France, the US and UK, included the adoption of Emmanuel Macron’s Savoy-Sarr report, rescind the proposed concession of the National Arts Theatre, and the upgrade of all museums in Nigeria to world class standards. Full details of the CERLSI policy brief can be accessed HERE.

For more information, please write to:

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

Deputy Executive Director CERLSI or call 08156171133.

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