Stakeholders push for formalised cultural, innovative sectors’ payment

PWANI: STAKEHOLDERS have stressed the need to create a formalised payment system for the cultural and innovative sectors for the latter to pay taxes and thus contribute to the national GDP.

The call comes in the wake of a worrying trend with statistics indicating growth in the cultural and innovative sectors at 19.0 percent as of 2021 as per the 2022 statistics amid a meager contribution of 0.4 per cent to the national coffer.

Lack of a formalised system is reported to have seen most artists mascaraed with cash in their bags amid no banking transaction, a situation that makes it hard for the revenue authorities to monitor their income and expenditure with artists failing to secure bank loans to buy working tools.

The call to that end was made by Kelvin Stanslaus an official from the Arts Council in Tanzania (BASATA during a working session conducted by UNESCO in Bagamoyo to review an open roadmap for the implementation of the 2005 Convention in the digital environment in Tanzania.

“The reason for the country failing to benefit from revenue accrued in the cultural sector is because most artists are not formal.

The government earns its income through taxes but unfortunately, most of them have no bank accounts. There is no specific code for artistic work and thus most incomes are scattered around,” said Stanslaus.

For her part, Agnes Lukanga from the network of female artists called upon the need to conduct discussion with the ministry of finance to establish the reasons for the sector failing to make a meaningful contribution to the national economy.

In another move, stakeholders have called upon the need to conduct research to establish cultural statistical data to establish who does what and where for the country to reap dividends from the sector.

Peter Simon, an official from the ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports said the public needs to take art as a major sector that can contribute to the national economy rather than being there for mere entertainment.

Robert Mwampembwa said the last research on the sector was conducted by the government between 2007-2010 where the economic contribution of the copyright-based industry was reported to be 4.7 percent adding that at the time the sector was faring better than mining.

According to Mwampembwa, at the time it was found that more than 100 goods were not included in the sector saying the sector’s contribution is huge but is yet to be explored.

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is a binding international legal instrument adopted in 2005 by the UNESCO General Conference where Tanzania is among of the signatories.

The main objective of the Convention is to support sustainable systems of governance for culture and achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services to increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals.

Other goals are to integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks as well as to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The session brought together ministries official culture from both sides of the union, COSOTA, BASATA, BAKITA, Film Board, TASUBA, COSOZA, BAKIZA, network of women artists in Tanzania, NATCOM, the cultural sector, members of the press.

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