The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
NATIONAL broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation owes local artistes more than $600 000 in royalties and that money will soon be paid, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said this while addressing delegates at the launch of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy in Bulawayo yesterday.
“I must say issues were raised pretty well, issues of royalty collecting and local content. ZBC owes a total of $600 000 as at 31 October 2019. That is for music royalties for our artistes, the royalties are calculated as a percentage of the corporation’s total advertising revenue.
“The debt emanated from the accumulation of royalties due to ZBC’s liquidity challenges over the years but thanks to the Minister of Finance (and Economic Development), we are actually starting with the 2020 budget, we have been given an opportunity of a grant. That will then allow ZBC to pay what is outstanding debt and not just to pay what is outstanding but to pay starting from here going forward,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa lamented the paying matrix which she said needs to be revised in order to match regional standards.
“So, there is need again to look at how we can actually come up with percentages of how people are paid weather it is individual artistes or what. The model used to compute the royalties contributed largely to the huge debt as it was premised on inappropriate percentages as the legacy debt was based on 10 percent royalty fees. The tariff rate was also not consistent with retaining of regional rates in comparison to countries in Southern Africa. Further negotiations will continue between us and Zimbabwe Music Rights Association to make sure that we honour that which we are owing,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the arts industry was a rewarding one world over.
“This is a very potentially rewarding industry. I was invited to the emerging cinema market conference in Turkey and I must say they have realised the potential that the country has in terms of shooting movies in this country. We need to do more certainly; great research has been done and I must say we have lost some of our best experts in the creative and cultural industries and internationally they are very much recognised and names that come in to mind are the Danai Guriras and many more,” she said.
She said issues around film policy development had already started and as a ministry they have already been doing a lot of consultation with stakeholders to make sure that they bring on board the suggestions that had been brought about during the indaba and subsequent launch of the policy.
The regional director for the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Mr Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi said Creative Cultural Industries (CCI) contribute significantly to enhancing productivity, economic growth and job creation.
“As of 2012, the sector was contributing six percent to the Gross Domestic Product but what is lacking is consistent gathering of data for us to make a strong case with Treasury to increased investment,” he said.
He called on the Government to assist the arts sector by sourcing funds from the gaming industry and to identify other ports of money within other sectors of the economy to support the industries. Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube said he was impressed with submissions from the arts industry as they articulated well their concerns. He said their request for duty free importation of musical equipment was granted.
“There is currently duty-free importation for public address systems and you would like that to be expanded to the rest of the musical equipment, I think my answer is yes, there is a lot to gain and very little to lose on the tax part,” he said.
Permit fees for solo and group acts will also be reviewed as the minister said they were not the same. Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Kirsty Coventry said she was grateful for the support received from the First Family during the arts indaba that was held over the past two days.
Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Cde Sithembiso Nyoni urged women to take a more active role in the arts and to increase their visibility in the growing industry. She said as the space opens up for women they need to be protected and respected so that they participate on an equal footing with their male counterparts.