CERLSI urges CBN to fast-track creative industry financing initiative

By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor

The Civil Empowerment and Rule of Law Support Initiative (CERLSI) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fast tract the takeoff and implementation of its Creative Industries Financing Initiative (CIFI), put in place to benefit Nigerians with skills in the fashion, movie making and distribution channels, info tech, music and software engineering.

A statement by the Deputy Executive Director of CERLSI, Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku made available to Newsdiaryonline Tuesday said the Director made the call when he paid courtesy visit to the CBN office in Benin on Monday.

He observed that though the scheme presented exciting opportunities to Nigerians that wish to take advantage of it, bottlenecks and the political will to see it through stood in its successful takeoff.

“CBN officials told us yesterday that even though the programme has officially taken off, it has yet to send a blueprint or rules of engagement to the commercials banks that will disburse the loans to fledgling Nigerian startups.

“A notice which the CBN sent to the general public and which was circulated on traditional and social media hinted that in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, the CBN had set up a ‘Creative Industry Financing Initiative, CIFI’, as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly for young people.

“The notice gave a sketch of those to benefit – fashion bugs, info techies, movie producers and distributors, musicians and software engineering. Successful applicants are to receive sums ranging from N3m – N500 million depending on a matrix of factors yet to be ascertained by the banks.

‘Take notice that there is a gale of suicides among young sweeping across Nigeria.  Most of these young people taking their lives have skills in the areas the CBN-CIFI chose to focus on.

“While CERLSI cannot quickly arrogate the unfortunate suicide of young persons in Nigeria to the mounting frustration of joblessness and unemployment, we are certain that frustration arising from unemployment and the inability of the system to activate support systems such as the CBN-CIFI contributes to the banality and despondence prevalent in our land”, Etemiku stated.

CERLSI called on the CBN to activate the CIFI by allowing banks to have access to the terms and conditions that applicants must meet before taking advantage.

“We want to remind the CBN and the Bankers’ Council that this programme seeks to empower young people. Expecting them to produce collaterals like landed property, hefty bank statements and guarantors with property in highbrow areas in Nigeria Maitama and Asokoro will be a recipe for the failure of the CIFI and a boost for fraudulent dealings,” he further stated.

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