I have been observing the on going debate about how GRA is now targeting Creative Arts Folks to indeed TAX them.
As far as I’m concerned Taxes are collected based on profit made so I don’t know whether there is now new taxes based on losses made.
We can also NOT talk about this Tax issue without mentioning the name of the President who promised us heaven but now wants to serve us hell.
We can also not excuse the Creative Arts Minister who seems to only care about Tourism and have now left our faith to the Tax Man.
Truth is the buck stops with them.
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Fact of the matter is that ShowBiz is a combination of Show and the Business but unfortunately we are only seeing the Show which is usually fake and the Business side does not exist here due to a number of factors which I will touch on a few.
The Arts industry is an informal one and its controlled by private individuals yet the government has a role to play in making the sector viable and complete.
- The government’s role is to make Laws that will protect the industry.
To build infrastructure that will see to the growth of the industry.
To put in place policies that will protect and boost our market.
There are a lot we can talk about but let’s just touch on only this three and move on to our predicaments.
- As at today the music industry in Ghana do not have any where to sell its products and the only option is at Kantamanto fose lane. We have therefore resulted to online marketing but ask yourself how many Ghanaians use credit cards and also have that orientation to purchase music online.
Our products have been left to the mercy of pirates and thieves and recently musicians were rather arrested by the police for going out there to confront these pirates.
The industry do not have ultramodern large sitting venues to host our shows whiles this government had it written boldly as part of their manifesto that when they come into power they will build large sitting theaters in every region except Accra making it a total of 9 but they will start with 3 regions yet 2 years down the lane they are now struggling to renovate a 1964 building in Koforidua which was not even part of the initial plan.
Radio and Tv stations are using our music for free without login in and paying the required royalties but it is in the law books that no station shall operate without login the songs they use, in fact back in the days GBC was doing it manually so what happened to it now that we are in a digital world where it’s suppose to be even easier. Ironically this government again promised that when they come into power they will in collaboration with us purchase a login system software to help us monitor the stations but ask yourself if you have ever heard them mentioning it again after they won the elections.
We have guidelines that tells us what percentage of foreign content should be shown on our airwaves but what do we see, our airwaves have been flooded with cheap foreign contents which is killing our local content providers but no one seems to care about that. Even if we don’t have any Laws on foreign contents being shown on our airwaves don’t we have common sense to tell us that foreign content will only dilute our culture and eventually kill our local industry?
Recently our Kumasi film makers Kumawood lead a demonstration against foreign soap operas and sent a petition to Nana Osei Tutu the King of Ashanti but ask yourself what really happened after that cry. In fact the whole Ghana industry was nearly mortgaged to India as GOLLYWOOD by Mr Boateng aka Mr India with the assistance of the Ghana Ambassador to India Hon Ocquaye if not for the intervention of the stakeholder of the Movie industry.
Now after refusing to honor your promises which we all know that a promise is a comfort to a fool you have now turn around like sheep in wolf clothes to devour us with Taxes.
Recently the only source of income for the Arts industry i.e. Ghamro was taxed to a tune of 60,000ghc which I stand to be corrected.
Our Deputy Minister in an interview admitted that the Creative Arts people are BROKE and so one will ask himself that why will a government who has done nothing for these people and who is aware that they are BROKE will turn around to Tax the Losses they are making.
As I type today a statutory monies collected by CUSTOMs on behalf of the Creative Arts people have not been paid and the last time we check the information we had was that there was no money in the account. How can there be no money in an account that is suppose to keep monies that belongs to stakeholders.
Nobody is against Taxes but to Tax people on Losses is just inhuman and I believe this debate is too insensitive to the poor plight of Musicians and it must STOP since it is just a Senseless Controversy.
My last personal question is that is the FREE SHS by force or we will go Mad if we abolish it or do we have to force a policy like Free Shs onto ourselves in order to overburden and collapse other industries or what?