The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) is single-handedly spending the entire GH¢2 million (¢20 billion) the government of Ghana set aside in the 2012 budget to boost the creative arts industry.
Other stakeholders in the arts industry have taken on MUSIGA, asking the union to vomit the money because musicians alone cannot and do not represent the entire creative arts industry.
The circumstances under which the Ministry of Finance released the money to MUSIGA alone is quite mysterious, especially when the Minister of Finance, in reading the budget statement, had categorically stated that the money was for the creative arts industry.
The Finance Minister, when he made the announcement, even went on to explain what he meant by the creative arts industry:
“Madam Speaker, Ghana has a vibrant creative arts industry that can be nurtured to create jobs and provide increase income to all stakeholders.
The industry covers creative sectors such as music, film video and photography, visual and performing arts, publishing, etc. Global trade in creative goods and services remained very robust during the financial and economic meltdown, with the value of global export of creative goods and services reaching nearly US$600 billion between 2002 and 2008.”
“193. Ghana can benefit immensely if it begins to tap the creative sector of the economy, particularly those of the music and film industry.
But this will require an evaluation of the potential of the creative industry to contribute to the growth of the economy.
Beginning in 2012, therefore, Government will collaborate with the music industry to identify the potential of the industry through an impact assessment study.
The study will be used to support the preparation of a medium term strategic framework that will guide the development of the industry. Government will also support the organisation of the 2012 Ghana Music Fair.
“194. An amount of GH¢2.0 million has been allocated to support the creative arts industry in 2012,”was what Finance Minister Dufour told Parliament when he read the 2012 budget last year November.
This is what is also captured in the 2012 budget under the subhead line ‘Boosting the Creative Arts Industry’.
Not long after the budget was read, MUSIGA President Bice ‘Obour’ Kufour told several media houses that the money was for his musicians union alone and true to his words, they have hijacked the funds and left out all other stakeholders.
Speaking with Hitz FM, an Accra-based private radio station, last week, ace hi-life musician Rex Omar, who is Chairman of Business for MUSIGA, insisted that the money solely belonged to the musicians union, contrary to speculations.
According to him, “MUSIGA applied for GHc2 million and it has been given to MUSIGA,” adding, if the money was meant for the creative industry, “how come MUSIGA was able to access it and not the creative industry?
MUSIGA sent a specific proposal to do specific things”.
Checks by NEWS-ONE showed that MUSIGA was able to access the funds because it is the most organized and biggest group within the creative arts industry and moreover the union started lobbying for government funding way before the budget was read in November 2012
Source Daily Guide Ghana