"No money for creative arts industry"

Entertainment of Sunday, 1 February 2015

Source: Razz Newspaper


The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Honourable Dzifa Gomashie, has disclosed that government has never released any money for the creative arts industry since 2012 the ministry started operation.

She made this startling revelation under a privileged meeting she had with some selected journalists and media personalities at her office last week. Queried for not using her influence to lobby for the industry, she said that is not the case.

“We are working. Point is, the ministry is yet to come out with a legal framework which will be used to guide policies in the creative arts industry. The draft went to parliament, came back to my desk, I commented on it, it went to the minister, she commented on it, and now it’s gone back to parliament again. We are waiting on them to pass it” she said.

When asked if government has ever released budgeted money to the creative art industry ever since the ministry was established in 2012, she said; “No. Government has never released any money to the creative industry since we came into office.”

Touching on the first ever GHC 2 million budget allocation the NDC government made to the creative arts industry which ended up being released to the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), she retorted that – “That money was released to MUSIGA before I assumed office at the ministry so I don’t have much detail about it.”

“During my vetting, this same GHC 2 million issue came up and my response was that I don’t know much about it.” Some critics have also argued that though the money was released to MUSIGA at a time the ministry was not in office, the minister should have followed it up to get explanations as to why it was given only to MUSIGA

Honourable Gomashie who disagrees with that assertion stating that; “The money was not released when I was in office so I couldn’t have gone to the Ministry of Finance to ask them to explain to me why they gave that money to MUSIGA. I have no such authority to do that.”

However, when she was asked to share some of the challenges the ministry faces or is facing, her response was that, if there are any challenges – it’s her appointing authority she should tell. “You are not the appointing authority so why would I share our challenges with you? I can’t do that,” she unequivocally declared.

Another major issue stakeholders have with the ministry is its weak PR works – making some of their few achievements not heard of or visible to the public. That, she admitted and promised they shall improve on it this year and beyond.

At the end of the meeting, she admonished all in the creative industry to, in as much as they give constructive critiques, make erudite suggestions and advocacies through the various mass media – call on the government so that the President and all the powers that be, will cast their attention to the creative art industry and give it its due.

Government for the first time made an allocation of GH¢2 million in the 2012 budget for the creative industry under the tenure of Ghana’s late President, Prof. Evans Fiifi Atta Mills. Disagreement erupted after it emerged that only members of the musicians union accessed the funds.

President John Dramani Mahama met some selected members of the creative art industry at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi ahead of the 2012 general elections and promised to increase government’s budgetary allocation to the sector in order for many to benefit.

True to Government’s promise, the Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper, presenting the 2013 budget to parliament, announced that the government has allocated an amount of GH¢3 million to better the lot of the industry: “the creative arts industry will be supported with GH¢3 million in 2013,” he said. However, the fiscal year 2013 came to pass without government releasing a pesewa to the creative arts sector – same as 2014.