MUSIGA staff also benefited from GH¢ 2m gov’t fund [Article]
Allegations! Insults! Controversies! Questions!
All these have characterised some GH¢ 2 million that was given to the music industry about 5 years ago as part of government’s budgetary allocation.
A lot of people have accused the President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bice ‘Obour’ Osei Kuffuor, for misappropriating the fund.
To find answers to some questions bordering on this issue, I paid a courtesy call on the MUSIGA President at 1:15pm on Tuesday 4th October, 2017 to find out more about this GH¢ 2 million ‘devil.’
I asked the pertinent questions, he answered and showed me few documents on the acquisition and usage of the money.
How it started
In 2012, the creative arts sector was allocated an amount of GH¢ 2 million as part of the fiscal budget of the government of Ghana.
That was actually the first time the creative industry had received such an allocation from the government.
When I met the MUSIGA President, he told me that his union had earlier gone to see the government, enumerating things that were needed by the music industry to grow.
They requested for performance centres, recording studio, fund for Music Fair, among others.
“But after reading through our proposal, the government said it could only grant two of our requests and those components were what the 2012 budget statement for the arts captured,” he said.
The union, together with the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI), asked for GH¢ 5.5 million but GH¢ 2 million was given to them.
Obour writes to Finance Minister Dr. Duffuor on October 20, 2011
Hon. Dr. Dufour,
Budget 2012 – Proposal for Music Industry
As a follow up to our very encouraging meeting on Wednesday October 19, 2011, we wish to first and foremost express our profound appreciation for the attention you and your staff gave us. This gives us hope and the belief that we will not be left out in the pursuit of the Better Ghana agenda. On your advice, we have managed to put together the attached proposal for your consideration. Given that this is our very first time of doing this, we shall be glad to make any amendments and corrections to ensure our proposal is in conformity with normal budgeting practice. Our total submission for the 2012 Budget Year is GHC5.5 million.
In order to be ready for implementation, we have put together a team of experts (including creative industries consultants and experts in finance, budgeting and auditing) to flesh out the details of the various items in this proposal, to be submitted against disbursement.
We shall also be glad to work with you to choose qualified professional auditors to ensure diligence, accountability and value for money.
While anticipating your most favorable response, please be rest assured that we the players in the music industry are ready and willing to contribute our quota toward all efforts of national development.
Yours sincerely, Bice Obour Osei Kuffour President, MUSIGA
Cc:The Hon. Minister of Trade and Industry, cc.The Director of Budget (MoFEP) Budget 2012 – Creative Industries Input
The Government of Ghana (GoG) is making sure that all important sectors of the economy are fairly supported in pursuit of the Better Ghana Agenda. Having established the importance of Creative Industries in our socio-economic life, we have made sure that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has incorporated Creative Industries in its policy, and treated it like any other small and medium enterprise. We have also ensured that within the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA), the Creative Industries is mainstreamed.
In the coming year, a major study to document the potentials of Creative Industries and its contribution as a critical sector of the economy will be completed. This will highlight the various sub-sectors within Creative Industries and spell out what specific actions can be taken to support their development. In this budget, however, we seek to set the ball rolling by providing the following modest support to the music industry:
A. Research and Development (GHC400,000) a. Commissioning of a study on the potentials of the music industry b. Preparation of a Medium-Term Strategic Document to guide the conscious development of the industries c. Training needs assessment and capacity development study.
B. Music Industry Development Centre (GHC3.2 million) a. One stop marketing facility for sale of products within MUSIGA Premises b. Development of music performance facility (with the right acoustics) to seat about 500 within MUSIGA Premises c. An in-house training facility d. A standard world-class recording studio
C. Continuous Professional Development (GHC300,000) a. Development of training modules for each professional grouping (songwriter, script writers, performers, composers, producers, managers, directors, sound engineers, publishers etc) for the industries b. Training of trainers c. Running of training programs
D. Institutional Strengthening of Music Industry Structures (GHC1.0 million) a. Rehabilitation of MUSIGA administrative offices b. Procurement of office machines, equipment, furniture and consumables for head office and all the ten regional offices of MUSIGA c. Monthly allowances for MUSIGA Staff d. Institutional strengthening for GAPI (Producers and Publishers) e. Institutional strengthening for GAMRO (IP Collective Management Organization) f. Initiatives for the establishment of the proposed National Music Council
E. Ghana Music Fair (GHC600,000) a. A one-week business oriented event to showcase Ghana’s varied musical heritage, promote investment and business opportunities such marketing of products, instruments and technologies in the music industry
BACKGROUND PAPER ON THE PROPOSALS FOR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
SUBMITTED BY MUSICIANS UNION OF GHANA(MUSIGA) – OCTOBER , 2011
The creative industries are generally construed as a range of economic activities that deals with either the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information. It is defined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the United Kingdom as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.”(DCMS 2001, p. 04). Eleven creative sectors are recognized in this definition, namely: Music Film, video and photography Visual and performing arts Craft and antique markets Design Designer Fashion Software, computer games and electronic publishing Publishing Advertising Architecture Television and Radio The above list may further be reduced into two as follows: a) the core cultural industries and b) the text or cultural artifacts industries. The former encompass the advertising, marketing, broadcasting, film, internet, print and electronic publishing, video, computer and music industries.
The latter refers to those industries that create ‘texts’ or ‘cultural artifacts’ and which engage in some form of industrial reproduction. The Creative Industries may also be classified, at various stages, according to who owns what copyrights during the production and distribution of a creative content (WIPO). This is very true of complex creative properties (e.g., films), for which the production requires diversely skilled inputs that must be present and performed at some minimum level to produce a valuable outcome. It is also the case where the products are differentiated by quality and uniqueness (e.g., works of creative writing, whether poetry, novel, or screenplays). It is also true in products where skills are vertically differentiated. Artists, for instance, are ranked in accordance to their skills, originality, and proficiency in creative processes and/or products since small differences in skills and talent tend to yield huge differences in financial success.
Globally, trade in creative goods and service has remained largely robust despite the financial and economic meltdown following the world financial crisis. Global trade in services and products of creativity continues to register an impressive annual average growth of 14 per cent (Creative Economy Report 2010: A Feasible Development Option). Global exports of creative goods and services between 2002 and 2008 reached nearly US$600 billion with developing countries accounting for 43% (i.e., US$176 billion) with an annual rate of growth of 13.5%.
Nigeria’s share of this market is sizeable where the country’s $2.75 billion film industry is the third largest in the world after the United States and India. That country’s creative industries produce more than 1,000 films and music products annually and create thousands of in-country jobs. The creative industries are now the second most important industry after oil. To reposition the industry, the Federal Government has recently invested in the film, music and artefacts industries, and reformed policies and provided critical training to actors and players in the industry.
There is no gainsaying that Ghana can also benefit immensely if it begins to tap her creative economy particularly those of the music and film industries. This is because if well-nurtured, along with the traditional and the oil & gas sectors, the creative economy can be a source of enormous growth, job creation, innovation and trade. Fortunately, Ghana has many styles of traditional and modern music, due to its multiplicity of ethnic groups and its cosmopolitan geographic position in West Africa. The best known modern genre that originated in Ghana is Highlife with its latest rendition being the Hiplife. Highlife incorporates elements of swing, jazz, rock, ska, samba and soukous.
Boosting the Music Industry MUSIGA, which acts as the main umbrella trade union body of the country’s music industry, serves as the main work horse of the Ghanaian music industry. To reposition the music industry will require strengthening the institutional structures of MUSIGA. This will involve rebranding MUSIGA to render it more attractive and lucrative to songwriters, performers, composers and publishers, internal and external industry players like event organizers and the country’s policymakers in particular. It will also involve undertaking deliberate programmes with local and foreign partners and government across the country to create needed vertical and lateral jobs and wealth for industry players.
One important programme that will be pursued is the continuous development of all the professionals within the industry through seminars and workshops to acquire the needed skills. To this end, MUSIGA would set up world class Music Industry Development Centre to promote and market its creative products both locally and internationally. An annual Music Fair is also in the pipeline to serve as a platform for promoting music as a viable business endeavor. If this proves successful, in subsequent years, it will be organized internationally outside the borders of Ghana.
In conformity with current international practice, there is an urgent need to establish a national music council which will serve as an umbrella body for all players in the music industry. To this end, MUSIGA, working in collaboration with other industry players will purse ongoing efforts towards the establishment of the National Music Council by the end of 2012.
To implement all of the above for Ghana to reap the full benefits from the music industry requires ample investment. While MUSIGA is stepping up efforts to enhance its own income generation, like all other industries, it would need support from the Government, and it is the fervent hope of the entire musical fraternity that, as part of the Better Ghana agenda, and for the first time in the history of Ghana, the music industry would be given the full attention and support it deserve, by being catered for in the 2012 national budget.
Bice Obour Osei Kuffour President, MUSIGA
The 2012 Budget Statement on the Creative Industry
The Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor in his presentation of the 2012 budget on November 16, 2011 announced that government had set aside GH¢ 2 million to MUSIGA for the development of the creative arts industry.
Below is the statement he presented:
Boosting 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.
- 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.
- An amount of GH¢2.0 million has been allocated to support the creative arts industry in 2012.
Controversy over the true beneficiaries of the fund
Right after the budget was read, there was a big debate on who would benefit from the money. Some had said that the section 1233 of the statement says the amount was for the creative industry.
However, MUSIGA had also argued that the section1232 makes it clear that the government was referring to helping the music industry in that particular year. The latter was corroborated by the Finance Minister in later reports.
The reason MUSIGA laid claim to the money was that they wrote proposals for it and believed their effort had yielded results.
MUSIGA doesn’t constitute the entire music industry. So other music industries like Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) also benefited from the money.
Has MUSIGA used the money for what it was intended?
From the budget statement, the GH¢ 2 million was earmarked for two things: impact assessment of the music industry and the 2012 Music Fair.
The Music Fair was organised in 2012. The Comprehensive research has also been done. This means that not all the GH¢ 2 million was used for research. There were several components proposed to the Finance Ministry.
Has the GH¢ 2m benefited the ordinary musician?
Using the money for what it was intended and whether or not what it was used for has been useful to the people, are two different things.
Most musicians say they do not see the essence of the research and the music fair. According to them, the money could have been used for something that would impact directly on the musician.
However, the MUSIGA President thinks otherwise. According to him, the research that was done has long term benefits to the industry.
He said MUSIGA, together with the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), has instituted the MUSIGA Academy to train musicians and so far, it has turned out the first batch of 120 graduates who were trained free of charge. Lessons for the second batch, he said, are in progress.
Obour added that the MUSIGA board, after the research and advice by KPMG focused on improving GHAMRO and finding viable ways to pay musicians their royalties which is already being implemented.
MUSIGA also prides itself with the creation of the Creative Arts Council. According to Obour, the creation of the council was one of their recommendations in the KPMG research as captured on Page 39 of the abridged version and page 202 in the main document.
Results of the research
The KPMG survey on Ghana’s music industry shows that the sector adds approximately GH¢ 73 billion to the GDP of Ghana, representing 0.20% of the 2012 GDP at current prices.
My assessment of the whole GH¢ 2m shebang
The woes of Obour on this matter, from day one, stems from the minister’s usage of the phrases ‘creative sector’ and ‘music industry’ while presenting the budget statement.
Even though the money meant for MUSIGA and in part GAPI (because the two bodies lobbied for it), most people thought it was for the entire creative industry.
Even after the seeming vagueness in that statement had been cleared, some people still did not understand why only MUSIGA would ‘arrogate’ to itself, a whopping GH¢ 2m.
I personally think that the Music Fair should not have been approved by government. Yes, musicians were paid from the money when they performed at the Festival but there could have been better things to have done with that GH¢ 800,000 odd money that was used for the festival. I mean, it wasn’t a priority at that moment.
I am sure that if for example, an ultra modern music recording studio was built with some of the money, there would not have been much hue and cry about what the money was used for.
When I met Obour, I asked him how Institutional Strengthening became a component of the tasks executed with the GH¢ 2m when it was not mentioned in the 2012 budget statement, and he said since the tasks could not have been done without the ‘human factor,’ they needed to make provision for that from the fund.
This clearly means that the individuals that executed the various tasks (including the MUSIGA Executive) also benefited from the money.
To wit, the Institutional Strengthening of Music Industry Structures component made provisions for:
- Rehabilitation of MUSIGA administrative offices
- Procurement of office machines, equipment, furniture and consumables for head office and all the ten regional offices of MUSIGA
- Monthly allowances for MUSIGA Staff
- Institutional strengthening for GAPI (Producers and Publishers)
- Institutional strengthening for GAMRO (IP Collective Management Organization)
- Initiatives for the establishment of the proposed National Music Council
Anyone who thinks what the money was used for was not necessary should blame the government for sanctioning it in the first place. The government could even have contracted the research company to have conducted the survey – and not leave it to MUSIGA. This would have saved Obour and the entire arts industry the back and forth in this matter.
There are still some of the recommendations made in the research by MUSIGA that are not yet fashioned out by government.
Fortunately, most of them are in the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 manifesto promise on the creative arts.
In keeping with this, I would want to;
– see music education made effect and attractive in our basic schools.
– see value added tax on ticket sales removed in order to make the price of tickets relatively affordable.
– see sponsors of music events and shows granted some tax incentives to enable the sector attract the needed funding.
– see that National Communication Authority (NCA) makes all radio station log in music played.
-see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up a cultural desk to market Ghanaian music all around the world.
– see the book works don’t only remain in archives but improve the lives of the musicians and the creative artists at large.
When these are done, the music industry will see a boost in its activities and will by extension translate into the well-being of the individual stakeholders of the sector.
By: Kwame Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana