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Music of Monday, 13 August 2007


Lack of policy direction affecting music industry in Ghana

The absence of strong legislation and policy by government in the creative arts 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 to the detriment of private entrepreneurs who have invested in the industry.

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

The workshop which was organized by GAPI and financed by the 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 the contribution of the music industry to the socio-economic development of the country as well as give policy makers the needed attention in the industry.

The workshop was attended by representatives of composers and 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 as well.

Mr Sarpong however assured members in the industry that efforts were being made to reverse the trend, and that royalties in excess of GH¢100,000 (¢1billion) negotiated for producers had been paid to beneficiaries.

Nana Brefo Boateng, former Chief Director of the National Commission on Culture said even though statistical data on the contribution of the music industry to Ghana’s economy was limited, making it difficult for policymakers to consider its inclusion in national programmes, the industry 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 industries played in shaping the mindset of the people, enriching the cultural heritage as well as the 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 and persistent 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 derive the needed benefit from it.

Mr Francis Mensah Twum, General Secretary of GAPI said that 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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