…musicians urged to formalize to contribute to GDP

EDWIN MOYO

Gweru-The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) last week launched its five year National Music Strategy in Gweru anchored on the vision of creating a vibrant local and international music industry which sustains the lives of musician.

The strategy is premised on 10 pillars which include music markets and business development, intellectual property, funding, finance, investment in music, education, capacity building and training.

 The five year strategic blueprint was drafted by NACZ and a team composed of music stakeholders drawn from all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe and is part of the broader efforts to enhance the country’s cultural and creative industries sectors.

Speaking at the official launch last week Friday, NACZ executive director, Nicholas Moyo said there was need for artists to leave a lasting legacy for the young generation and the industry at large.

“The music strategy came up with a vision, which is to strengthen the sector and transform it into a sustainable entity. Our desire is to transform the sector into a money making industry.

“We are tired of being labelled entertainers, we are stakeholders as we will be doing work at State events and functions. We want to be accorded our rightful position and receive that which is due to us in line with the work we do as musicians.

“So the music strategy was launched in four cities, namely Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Bulawayo. Gweru happens to be one of the cities because it was found that the Midlands Province has a strong music landscape and contributes immensely to the arts and culture industry of the nation. So the strategy was developed after vigorous consultation with various stakeholders, we are glad that now plans are underway to develop the film strategy and if God allows we will be launching early next year.” he added.

Moyo also said that, they was need for musicians to be taxpayers in order to insure their work.

“I will task my Provincial team to take time and engage you our valued stakeholders so that we get to understand what the strategy has for us as musicians. Part of the strategy is for my office to assist you to engage with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority ( ZIMRA) so that you get to appreciate and understand how paying taxes help to grow our sector into serious industry.

“Let me say, we need to be tax payers, and probably have a BPN number and pay presumptive tax as an individual, this will help you grow your work and you will avoid inconveniences if you get a contract to perform. Probably if Council hire you, they won’t be need for them to deduct withholding tax as you will be a taxpayer already.

“It is my prayer that all of us should pay tax as income in the creative sector is irregular. If we pay tax you will discover that our work becomes measurable as this will enable us to know how much we contribute to the economy and country at large,” Moyo added.

He further said, a lot of consultations and training was currently underway as there was need to help the creative sector to monetize their work.

“Recently we got funding from EU-UNESCO and out of other countries, three countries were selected including Zimbabwe, the other two are Uganda and Georgia and the funding was channeled for us to implement our music strategies in this digital era. So we were fortunate and we hope this opportunity will go a long way in transforming our sector and products.

“If we want to penetrate the digital spaces we need our products to be of quality, value addition starts at creation but we also need quality production. One might have a good voice but if he or she doesn’t have good instruments and studios then production will give bad results. So there is need for us to invest in quality production of musical outputs.” he added.

Gweru based Reggae legend and artist, Jospeh Nhara however urged the sector to avoid sectorial issues and establish vibrant unions which advocate for the works of musicians.

“Let’s avoid sectorial issues as we deal with the issue of unionism because we need unions to drive our work as well to air our grievances with one voice. Let’s be united and be one as a people and as Gweru so that we stand for ourselves. If we don’t stand our ground no one will ever do it for us.

“I want to emphasise on the use of our existing arts infrastructure. We need to have boards which run these centres who will also employ a very competitive management which is arts driven so that we bring the facilities back to their rightful use. We have our Midlands Academy of Music and Gweru Theater we need them to be centres which grow local talent like back then” said Nhara.

Meanwhile NACZ Midlands Provincial manager, Farai Kupfavira said work was already underway to see the formation of independent boards and management to oversee the use of arts facilities in Gweru as Council had already sailed through a resolution to give the facilities back to the artists.

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