KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has engaged the Finance Ministry to study the Shs47 billion stimulus package requested by the culture and creative industries of Uganda.
Museveni said the ministry should report back to cabinet for a way forward over the issue after the study.
His directive follows The Uganda Comedians Association (TUCA) president Hannington Bugingo’s letter to him requesting for a stimulus package, enforcement of copyright law as well as a Ministry of Culture to take care of artistes’ welfare.
“Your Excellency, we would like to propose that you re-establish a fully-fledged Ministry of Culture to provide artistes with a home for their regulation and take care of Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) sector governance, development and professionalization. This is a very important step for making the sector more visible and profitable to the country,” Bugingo said in a letter to Museveni in October, 2020.
He also asked for the enforcement of Copyright law in Uganda so that artistes can benefit from their work.
“The current reality is that a lot of music, videos, books, art are shared on social media and other platforms without compensation of the copyright holders. We propose that a levy be imposed by the next financial year. According to estimates by the Uganda Collecting Societies Forum using statistics on value of trade in gadgets from the Uganda Revenue Authority and applying a levy of 3 percent, a total of Shs 68 billion would be collected,” he said.
He went ahead and asked for a Stimulus Fund of Shs 47 billion to help the recovery of the Culture and Creative Industries sector from the damages of Covid-19.
“Your Excellency, we thank you for the great leadership during this Covid-19 fight. The measures that you have instituted have put on hold activities in the creative sector. Although content provided by the sector has kept Ugandans during Lockdown, your Excellency, we need capital to restart and produce content even in this period through digital collaborations,” he added.
In response, Museveni hailed Bugingo for working towards the development of culture and creative industries before assuring him that his requests will be catered for.
“I have read your document by the Uganda Comedians Association. It has got very useful ideas. Take the question of the Scattered Departments that deal with the performing arts and culture; Uganda Museum, the Department of Antiquities, the enforcement of the copyright laws, etc The Cabinet will deal with those issues,” Museveni said in a letter dated 3 March.
“By the copy of this letter, I am directing the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to study your document and report to cabinet in the same meeting, the two issues involving finance; tax on gadgets that assist the theft of copyrights and also the stimulus package for the creative industries.”
The president also directed the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to be the contact person with the culture and creative industries as the government deals with the issues raised by Bugingo.