Arnold Asamoah Baidoo

Celebrated entertainment pundit, Arnold Asamoah Baidoo, has accentuated that the four elements captured in Vice President Bawumia’s speech on his vision for the country if elected president as regards the creative arts industry are more than relevant.

Sharing his views on United Television’s ShowBiz on Saturday, 10th February 2024, Arnold disagreed vehemently with those who hold the position that what the NPP’s presidential candidate has in store for the creative arts industry is not relevant.

‘’I would vehemently reject anybody who says that any of the four elements he mentioned is not relevant. All the four elements Dr. Bawumia mentioned are relevant. He said he would build on the Year of Return, Beyond the Return, December in GH. Arguably, these projects are the biggest achievements of this party (NPP), true or false?”

He continued; ‘’So which person chosen as flagbearer in his right sense of mind would not build on these laudable projects?’’ Arnold quizzed.

He noted that the four elements are more than relevant. ‘’It goes without saying that these elements are super relevant. He said he would introduce e-visas for foreign visitors, how is that not relevant? Arnold asked.

The e-visa system, Arnold indicated, would cut bureaucracy and inconvenience as well as corruption once there is an improved system. One would, therefore, with the help of a computer, apply for a visa for whatever purpose for the visitation without sweating.

He charged critics of the Vice President to look at what pertains to South Africa where there are tax incentives for players in the creative arts industry and stated that Vice President Bawumia’s pledge to incentivize stakeholders in the industry is more than feasible.

‘’There is absolutely nothing wrong if digital streaming platforms are created to help market the works of Ghanaian musicians. Apple, Spotify and Boomplay were in existence but that didn’t prevent Jay-Z and his business partners to set up Tidal’’ Arnold reminded those who said such platforms for local artists to market their works aren’t important.

‘’Over the years, as we are all aware, there are challenges with the existing platforms. Artists have been complaining about how they are shortchanged when it comes to revenue sharing. In fact, a couple of years ago, the UK Parliament told streaming services they were cheating the artists whose songs are marketed by them. If Bawumia intends setting up streaming platforms to help change this sad situation, why shouldn’t we embrace the idea? Who are we to say this proposal is not relevant?’’ Arnold asked.

He posited that ‘’Every item Dr. Bawumia mentioned for the creative industry in his address is very relevant’’. He said that though these policy proposals are not the panacea for solving all the challenges facing the creative arts sector, they are still very much relevant in addressing some major issues.

Arnold also prayed that the issues of legislation and funding and the dormant broadcasting bill need attention to help liberate players in the entertainment industry to realize the maximum benefits of their works.

New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, announced that under his presidency, film producers and musicians will be given tax incentives to help in order to shift the private sector’s focus to the sector.

In his address to the nation at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the Vice President reiterated his firm resolve to change the dwindling fortunes of the entertainment sector and to help create more jobs.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I will also have a major focus on policies, tax and other incentives to increase private and public investment in tourism, creative arts and sports for more job creation. Tax incentives will also be provided for film producers and musicians. We will also introduce other initiatives such as digital and streaming platforms for our artists to make tourism and the creative arts a growth pole in Ghana”, Dr. Bawumia averred.

He further said that policies already yielding dividends will be continued and enhanced. “We will build on the Year of Return, Beyond the Return, December in Ghana”.

A Visa-on-arrival policy will be introduced for international tourists to enhance growth in the industry. “To boost tourism and job creation, my government will implement a visa-on-arrival policy for all international visitors to Ghana as has recently been implemented by Kenya”.