Federation of Concerned Arts Professionals (FOCAP) has perused carefully the 2018 budget statement read by the Finance Minister on Wednesday October 15, 2017.
The key area of concern that FOCAP wants to touch on is the sector of: Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. This is one sector that FOCAP believes government needs to put much premium on to help in job creation, foreign exchange earning, cultural export and nation branding.
The 2018 budget as read by the Minister, FOCAP finds it dissatisfying and disappointing and we believe the budget has not really tackled the sector very well.
We believe that if the country goes on with this; sooner or later the creative industry will be nothing to write home about.
Page 118 of the budget touched on Creative Arts by saying “Government will continue it’s initiatives to improve the Creative Arts sector with the establishment of a fully functional Creative Arts Secretariat and the commencement of feasibility studies to set up a Creative Arts fund.
This FOCAP believes are not critical areas of the industry to effectively create the maximum impact.
Government wanting to establish a fully functional Creative Arts Secretariat is another promise FOCAP believes should have featured on any of the political platforms.
Creation of a Secretariat is a legislative task and needs the Tourism, Culture and Arts Ministry to tackle and not the finance ministry.
In any case, since this was a budget we expected it to tell us how much is going to cost in setting up the secretariat of which we do not even have a legislative instrument to set up.
Commencement of feasibility studies to set up Creative Arts fund- FOCAP believes this is just another political talk and was expecting the budget to give us a practical Road map.
FOCAP is asking what would go into the feasibility studies
How much funding would be used?
Which outfit would lead this research?
How long would this feasibility last?
What do we seek to achieve with this exercise?
In the 2017 budget, the creative arts sector was neglected and much concentration was on tourism which was believed that it will dovetail into the creative Arts.
The budget spoke of the Marine Drive tourism investment project covering over 240 acres of land, other areas the 2017 budget touched on are as follows
431- Tourism product development program
435- Tourism Research and marketing program
436-Toursim quality assurance programme
438- Culture, Creative Arts and Heritage Management program- this stated the ministry in collaboration with Bureau of Ghana languages would be celebrating international mother language day.
FOCAP was looking at the budget prioritizing the Creative Arts industry by establishing the focal points of action driven like other sectors such as Agriculture, Health and others are enjoying.
The NPP manifesto promised rehabilitation and building of theatres across the country. From 2017 – 2018 the budget has not given any assurance/update as to what investment is going into that, land acquisition, and other solutions to the project.
FOCAP was expecting that the budget would have stated how much government is injecting into the industry for research into our film industry, update on what the finance ministry has done with the research which was done on the music industry and the issues of employment and revenue making ventures.
FOCAP believes the government in as much as is trying very hard to sustain the country we believe if maximum attention and value is placed on the Culture and Creative industry, considering the large number of employment which the industry can offer, we believe subsequent projections should really cover the creative arts industry. FOCAP knows that budgets are projections and therefore we need to also be factored fully and be in the government priority.
Planting for food and Jobs
Are some of the areas getting much attention with the hope it would employ our graduates without considering the ready market the creative industry (music, movies, fine arts etc) also can employ.