National Theatre is not for sale – GM
The General Manager, National Theatre (NT), Mr Kabir Yusuf on Wednesday said that the complex has not been sold, as was widely rumoured on social media and some radio stations recently.
“It is pertinent to repeat that the concession arrangement relates to only the fallow land and not the main edifice nor any of its halls.’’
Yusuf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the sideline of a briefing that the management’s main concern was to refurbish the infrastructure.
“There is a need to restore the National Theatre to its past glory; we are not going to sell it.
“I don’t understand why people call for change and when it is being done, they cry foul again,’’he said.
He told NAN that the authorities of the National Theatre were in a partnership of sort to enhance the profile of the structure that was built in 1976.
He added that the project tagged: “Nigerian Entertainment City” was to complement the aesthetics of the National Theatre in inline with similar facilities elsewhere in the world.
He said that some additional facilities like a Five Star Hotel, Shopping Mall, Offices, Land and Water Parks, Leisure and Entertainment Centre and Multi-Level car parks are being envisaged for the complex.
“These facilities are to be built and developed on the fallow land of the National Theatre in accordance with the master plan, in order to make the theatre more attractive and viable.
“We should realise that government does not have the resources we are looking for, but we can leverage on the growing interest of the private sector to find the resources.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National orientation, decided to transform the theatre and considered the feasibility of Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the turnaround.
“So, a stakeholders committee made up of the federal Ministry of land, Housing and Urban Development, Federal Ministry of Works, Office of the Surveyor-General office of the Federation, was convened.
“Others are Federal ministry of Tourism, Culture and national Orientation, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning; Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Committee (ICRC).
The general manager said that they were inaugurated by the immediate past Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, on Sept. 28, 2012.
“The committee was charged to actualise the National Theatre’s master plan in partnership with viable investors, since the Federal Government lacked the resources to rehabilitate the edifice.
“After the brainstorming, BGL Capital PLC was agreed on to be the Transaction Adviser, to assess strategies fit, achievability and value for money.
“And affordability inherent in the procurement of the concessionaires to build, operate maintains and transfer basis in line with the National policy on PPP published by the ICRC.
“The consultant and the National Theatre prepared an Outline Business Case (OBC); their work is to establish the technical, economic and financial viability of the National Theatre. The ICRC issued a certificate of No Objection.
“By that the commission, which is the regulator of such projects, and OBC was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by the then President Goodluck Jonathan on Aug. 14, 2013 and July, 2, 2014, respectively.
“We went on a road show in Lagos, London, Dubai and Johannesburg in 2014 in which 11 consortiums indicated interest, seven companies pre-qualified out of the seven, three submitted their technical and financial bids,” he said.
He noted that all the evaluations and analyses were done by a team of officers made up of representatives of the National theatre, Transaction Advisers and ICRC.
“After evaluations, Topwide Apeas/Chris Michael Ltd emerged as the preferred bidder and Calzada Nig.Ltd as the Reserved Bidder, which have been certified by ICRC and the two companies have been communicated to,’’he said.
He said that the next stage of the transaction is the negotiation and preparation of the final OBC for the approval of the FEC, after which the project would commence.
NAN reports that the National Arts Theatre is the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria.
The monument is located in Iganmu, Lagos State; its construction was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977.
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