LAGOS – The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Chief Edem Duke, on Thursday said that the concession of the National Theatre was for the cohesion of the arts, tourism and culture, and not for their disintegration.
Duke said this at a stakeholders’ meeting tagged: “The Concession of the Fallow Land around the National Theatre in Line with the Master Plan, Nigerian Entertainment City Road Show”.
He said: “Nigerian cannot allow the National Theatre to rot away any further; we cannot allow this iconic edifice to be in vain, while our entertainment sector suffers.
“It is important for us to support each other and provide an enabling environment for the arts to grow, by allowing investors to come in.
“Many countries of the world are powered by arts, culture and entertainment, so we should be able to do something fast to develop our arts sector,’´ he said.
The minister said that Nigeria had the power to re-engineer the sector to create employment and breed more young talents in the sector.
He argued that Nigerians were the largest shoppers in the world, and as such, “we need retail shops that can help us to attract more investments”.
Duke said that the road show being planned in the sector would take it to London, Dubai and South Africa.
The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Aminu Diko, said that a Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement approach was the preferred option for the National Theatre.
“It is good to transform the national theatre into an international destination, comparable to other big cities in the world.
“There is an increasing awareness worldwide of the partnering role the private sector plays towards the accelerated provision of infrastructure through the PPP.
“When properly handled, it can provide financing and service delivery tools and good returns,” Diko said.
He noted that the railways, ports, roads and bridges were areas where tremendous successes that had been recorded in the recent past.
The handler of the National Theatre concession, Dipo Wintoki, also the Project Director, BGL Company, said that the planned development would seat on about 134 hectares of land.
Wintoki said that the National Theatre was situated on only10 hectares of land and that the other hectares will form the basis with which the PPP would develop its projects.
“The PPP will design, build, finance, maintain and operate any of the following: the main bowl of the National Theatre, a Five Star Hotel, and an International Shopping Mall.
“They will also develop land and water recreation parks, a multi-level car park, an office building, as well as facility management services (security, sewage, water, and others,” he added.
Earlier, in her welcome address, Mrs Nkechi Ejele, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, said that all should join hands to make the project feasible.
She said that it was the only culture house Nigeria had and that there was a need to make people believe in what they had.
The National Theatre was established in 1978. (NAN)