Tag Archives: Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Work starts on $250m Lagos data centre

Babajide Sanwo-Olu (centre) at the ground-breaking ceremony

Nigerian company Kasi Cloud has started work on a US$250m hyperscale data centre being built in Lekki.

The ground-breaking ceremony was performed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state, who said his administration was committed to the rapid transformation of the Lekki corridor and other industrial hubs in the state.

The facility will provide an interconnection and data centre platform for Nigeria to support digital ecosystems and drive internet access to over 200 million people. Lagos state will be its host, yielding economic benefits for future generations.

According to the governor, the data centre will create jobs, attract additional investment and deliver high-speed internet access that will be transformational for emerging and existing digital ecosystems.

“On our part as a state government, we are deeply committed to the rapid transformation of the Lekki corridor, as well as every other industrial hub in the state. We are demonstrating this commitment through policies and interventions designed to improve the business environment, to reform critical government institutions and systems and to unlock new levels of innovative thinking among our people, especially our youth,” said Sanwo-Olu.

“We realise that the people of Lagos are the most formidable assets that we have. They are the ones who will write the narrative of this megacity now and into the future. We must educate and upskill them, to prepare them for the rapidly evolving working environment of the 21st century. We want to use education and technology as a tool to be able to create a 21st century Lagos that we all dream and talk about.”

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Lagos gov’t hands out filmmaker loans

Babajide Sanwo-Olu presents the loan cheques to filmmakers

Thirty-nine Nollywood filmmakers have been given interest-free loans worth N200m (US$481,000) by the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The filmmakers are beneficiaries of special interest-free loans managed by the Lagos State Creative Initiative, under the ministry of tourism, arts and culture. The move is aimed at addressing financial challenges that inhibit quality film production in Lagos and Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu said: “This initiative and presentation of cheques being done today is a testament to our commitment to ensure the potential of the entertainment industry are realised. I congratulate the beneficiaries who are receiving their cheques today and I am convinced that your proposals and plans must have been really compelling and convincing to earn the approval of the committee.”

He also encouraged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loans and pay them back within the stipulated time to enable others to access the fund.

Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, commissioner for tourism, arts and culture, said: “Before the establishment of the revolving loan for filmmakers, the governor had made various interventions to ameliorate the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on business owners in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism sector.

“Mr Governor constituted a palliative review committee headed by Nollywood veteran actress Joke Silva, which proposed a N1bn immediate intervention for the various stakeholders. Following Mr Governor’s approval, the ministry subsequently presented cheques to some of the beneficiaries at the maiden edition of the Lagos Tourism, Hospitality Arts & Culture Economic Summit held last year.”

“To complement this gesture, the ministry sought and obtained Mr Governor’s approval for a 50% rebate on operating licence fees payable by all the practitioners in the entertainment and hospitality sector for year 2020. The state government is interested in using the revolving funds to bring youths out of unemployment while also creating entrepreneurs who would use their creativity to enhance the market shares of the film industry.”

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Lagos gov’t suspends LSFVCB director

The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has suspended the executive secretary of the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board (LSFVCB) for imposing a 5% tax on producers and digital platforms including Netflix and Iroko TV.

Adedayo Thomas

Gbenga Omotosho, spokesman for the state government and commissioner for information and strategy, said Bamidele Balogun acted without authorisation and was therefore suspended.

In a statement, the goverment said: “There is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in Lagos State. The executive secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr Bamidele Balogun, is said to have announced a 5% levy.

“The government hereby dissociates itself from the said announcement in the media. The executive secretary, who was not authorised to make such an announcement, has been suspended, pending an administrative enquiry.”

He added that the Sanwo-Olu administration was aware of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry and other sectors of the economy and a Federal High Court had barred the LSFVCB from levying film and video producers.

In June, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court ruled that the LSFVCB cannot collect taxes at the same time as the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), as it would amount to double taxation. Despite this, Balogun wrote letters to several digital platforms, including Netflix and Iroko TV, demanding the 5% levy.

A letter addressed to Jason Njoku, MD of Iroko TV, dated August 31 reads: “We hereby request for immediate payment of the 5% levy on all audio and visual content produced, sold, distributed, marketed, exhibited, streamed, downloaded and shared across all physical and digital platform situate, lying and being within Lagos State.”

Balogun, who had earlier said that producers who failed to register would face severe sanctions by the board, declined to speak about the matter when contacted.

Adedayo Thomas, executive secretary of the NFVCB, said the new levy by the state government was wrong and would obstruct the growth of the sector.

“There is an existing court judgment on that matter. The move is wrong and I will be meeting with representatives of the state soon to look into the issue,” he said.

The Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria and the president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Pretty Okafor, questioned the Lagos State government for going ahead with the levy despite a court judgment and claimed that the new levy would be challenged again in court.

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