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Music of Tuesday, 7 August 2007


Lack of policy direction affecting music industry in Ghana

The absence of strong legislation and policy intervention by government in the creative industry, has led to the increase in pirated musical products on the Ghanaian market.

This has been compounded by the non-payment of royalties on the use of musical works and exploitation of musical products to the detriment of private entrepreneurs who have invested in music industry.

Mr John Mensah Sarpong, National President of Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI), made the observation at a day’s advocacy workshop on long term financing for music industry in Ghana in Kumasi on Tuesday.

The workshop organized by GAPI and financed by Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, is to seek inputs from stakeholders in the music industry on the draft document for policy intervention to establish long term financing for the industry. The document is to establish contribution of the music industry to the socio-economic development of the country and afford policy makers the needed attention to the industry.

It was attended by representatives from composers, cassettes/CD/DVD/VCD manufacturers, engineers/studio owners, distributors, producers and spinners. Mr Sarpong pointed out that the music industry was undergoing serious challenges unprecedented in the country’s history. He said the industry was not only confronted with problems of piracy and non-payment of royalties for the use of musical works, but lack of long-term financing for the production of musical works.

Mr Sarpong, however, assured members in the industry that efforts were being made to reverse the trend, adding that royalties in excess of GH=A2100,000 (one billion cedis) negotiated for producers had been paid to beneficiaries.

Nana Brefo Boateng, former Chief Director of National Commission on Culture, said even though statistical data on the economic contribution of the music industry in Ghana was limited, making it difficult for policy makers to consider its inclusion in national programmes, it continued to be one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. He said government was aware of the significant role the music and film industry played in shaping the mindset of the people, enriching the cultural heritage and its sustainability as well as creation of employment in the country.

Nana Boateng said it was against this background that government facilitated the industry’s inclusion in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II as a medium to long-term strategy for growth and job creation in the economy.

He urged stakeholders involved in the preparation of the document to be steadfast in their approach, resolve and persist in their endeavour to achieve the targeted objectives.

Reverend Fiifi Kahn of Global Consult, who prepared the document, said the music industry was very lucrative and there was the need for support in terms of financing and policy direction to enable the country obtained the needed benefit from the industry.

Mr Francis Mensah Twum, General Secretary of GAPI, said the music industry when given the needed attention could serve as a huge foreign and local income earner to the nation.

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