Following the call by veteran actor, Lari Williams to President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the $200million fund reportedly given to the entertainment industry by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the Bank of Industry (BOI) has denied getting such fund.
The bank, in a statement, claimed Jonathan never gave them the said amount.
In 2010, the former president announced a $200million intervention fund for the entertainment industry during a function in Lagos. The money almost tore Nollywood apart and some of the practitioners who tried to access the fund were getting frustrated because of the conditions attached to it.
But some days ago, Lari Williams, a former president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), called on the President to probe the fund, which was reportedly in care of BOI.
But the bank said, “It is not managing any $200 million Entertainment/Nollywood Fund and at no time did the bank receive any such fund from the government for the Entertainment/Nollywood sector.
“This publication became necessary as some practitioners in the creative industry believe that BOI is in receipt of $200 million Entertainment/Nollywood Fund.
“Due to the commercial potentials of the entertainment industry in Nigeria, the bank has been making investments in the industry from its own resources since 2011. It has provided financial and advisory support to the following sub-sectors of the industry: movie production, cinemas, amusement/theme parks production studios, etc. Recently, the Bank launched the NollyFund with a fund size of N1.0 billion to support movie production and distribution.
“Based on the foregoing, we hereby state unequivocally that the Bank of Industry Limited is not in custody of $200 million meant for the Entertainment/Nollywood sector.”
The response of BOI to this issue would shock some industry watchers, who would wonder why the bank never denied the receipt of such fund before now.