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Entertainment of Monday, 13 April 2020

Source: 3 News

Tourism Minister, Okraku Mantey contradict each other on ‘creative arts’ stimulus package

There seems to be no clear-cut understanding as to whether persons in the creative arts industry are part of a proposed stimulus package to be given by the government.

While the Creative Arts Council is collating information from some creative industry persons to be submitted to the government, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister has disclosed that the package is for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

It emerged last week that the Creative Arts Council headed by Mark Okraku Mantey was collating information from creative persons who have been affected by Covid-19 to be submitted to the government for support.

Mr Mantey giving details of the package told MzGee in an interview on Showbiz 927 on 3FM that due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 on the creative industry and its personnel, “Jubilee House gave us a clue that guys we know that guys, we know that you are hit around this time so let us know how much you are hit…”

The Creative Arts Council, he added, therefore proceeded to collate data from industry persons to subsequently submit to the Presidency.

The Creative Arts Council president revealed that they have collated over 200 and they have “seen some reputable names. We’ve seen Rex Omar in it, Bessa Simons in it. We’ve seen some names that show that people are not joking with it…”

When MzGee pressed to find out what the package was for, Mark Okraku Mantey said “this thing is not [for] just people who do events. It’s going to affect everybody in the chain…,” including artistes and persons in the entertainment space who have been affected by Covid-19.

“So almost everyone in the chain will get his [/her] fair share…so everybody from media to performers…”

But Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, also speaking on the package said the facility is for SMEs.

“…Definitely, there will be a criteria to access it. What I know is that the government through the initial stimulus package has made available about GHS600,000,000 that is going to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through their various trade associations,” she told MzGee in an interview on Showbiz 927 on 3FM.

The Minister explained that “So we have small small businesses with our [industry] who could also benefit like our local restaurants, our hairdressers and beauticians, all of them can access these funds through their local associations. Then we are also looking at support that will go to the key players in the industry like the hotels, who have lost patronage because of the pandemic…, some of them have closed down…”

According Barbara Oteng Gyasi, they are engaging the government to support these persons and businesses to cushion them from the chokes from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Definitely that is going to go out to them by either loans or grants…”

When MzGee sought to get a clarification on who stands to benefit from the stimulus package, the Minister said: “This facility is available for SMEs…if you fall within that category through your trade association, you can submit an application it will be looked at and the necessary support will be given so nobody should [exempt] themselves as long as your business fall within that category,” and if they are not sure, they can consult their various associations.

She urged that “…whatever concerns they [entertainment persons] have, they can approach the Creative Arts Council and we will take it up with the Ministry of Trade and we see which of our members can benefit from this initial GH¢600,000,000 support”.

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