Government Allocates Shs.48 Billion to Creative and Music Industry

GULU – The government of Uganda has allocated Shs 48 billion to the creative and music industry for the establishment of regional arts’ theatres.

The Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja revealed that the fund is established to organise the creative industry and attract the youths to self-employment.

She revealed that Shs 11 billion has been channelled to the Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) from the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) for the implementation of the program.

“We will now give you what belongs to you and we expect that you will think positively to invest in the industry and get money,” Nabanja told the artistes over the weekend in Gulu at Watoto Church.

Operation Wealth Creation Chief Coordinator, General Salim Saleh noted that the artistes in the music industry have missed out on opportunities due to lack of structural organisation.

Saleh revealed that the government has realised the need to assemble the artistes into associations and cooperatives in order to receive support to boost their income during this period of the lockdown.

“We have learnt a lot from the artistes and we hope that they will now put their differences aside and turn their music to improve our economy,” Gen. Salim Saleh further explained.

Sam Okello, the Board Chairperson of Uganda National Cultural Centre revealed that the government has also reached agreement with the artistes on copyright protection.

Many of the artistes are being exploited and this has affected the growth of the music industry in the country. The government has now come up to prioritize the creative and arts industry, says Okello.

Though he did not disclose the timeframe of the establishment of the Regional Art Theatres, he noted the centres will be constructed in the North, Eastern, West Nile, Central and Western Uganda.

Ugandan Superstar and long-time musician, Daniel Kazibwe, known by his stage name Ragga D, commended the government for the support in the industry.

He also noted that the government has agreed to support artistes to produce songs that will sensitize and educate the masses on Covid19.

According to him, each of the songs that will support the fight against the Covid19 will tentatively be awarded Shs 350, 000 from the Ministry of Health.

Phina Mugerwa, the General Secretary Uganda Music Association noted that the industry has started registering all the performing artistes in the country and reorganising them into cooperatives.

Mugerwa revealed that about 4,000 musicians, producers and their promoters have been registered in the country and oriented on the organisation of the music industry for support from the government.

However, Ugandan Superstar and Hip-hop artiste Musa Ssali a.k.a Bebe Cool noted that the government has for years neglected more than 386,000 artistes in the music industry in its economic planning.

“Uganda is the most ethnically diverse country and this is the biggest opportunity for the country to export its cultures but there has been a lack of goodwill to take this advantage,” Bebe Cool added.

He revealed that the industry only contributed $ 281 million to the national economy due to poor technology for quality production.

“The creative industry is large and can generate more than $ 4,000 million per annum for the country if there is a will to support the sector and that is where we have gone wrong,” he added.

“The government has zoned Gulu City for induction, training and orientation of the artistes on the different opportunities to tap financial support from the government through associations and cooperatives,” says Phina.

The ongoing retreat which has lasted for more than two months in Gulu brought together artistes from different factions across the country that resolved to organise the music industry.

“We now have where we can begin from which has never been possible in the past years with lack of focus and infights in the industry. Let us not forget that we are prioritizing support to the young people,” Saleh told the artistes at Watoto Church.

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