THERE have been mixed reactions to the initiative by the Ministry for Tourism, Arts and Culture to insure players in the Creative Arts sector to enable them to benefit in their old age.
Director of Creative Arts, responsible for Programmes & Projects at the National Commission on Culture, Socrate Sarfo, in an interview with Graphic Showbiz said the move had become necessary in the light of the sorry state of some veterans in the creative industry, a number of who have had to publicly beg for support.
“We have heard lots of stories concerning our veterans and truthfully, it bothers us as a ministry and so we have been doing a lot of deliberation on how to bring that to an end and we thought starting this would be very good.
"The insurance scheme will cater for health, pension packages, injuries on set etc of creative arts players.
“This move will help us with data collection; when the people register, we will have data on the numbers we are dealing with and make it easy for us to organise them when the need arises.
“It will also be an identification card, sometimes when these guys go out to perform, they find themselves in certain dangerous situations and they are unable to defend themselves because no one knows that they are actors.
“But if you should have this on you, you show it and it will help. Again with this, if anything should happen, you can get the backing of the ministry because it will be like a membership card,” he said.
However, the news, which was echoed by the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi at the Ghana Creative Industry Forum held at the National Theatre on Wednesday, October 30, has been met with some reservations by industry players Graphic Showbiz spoke with.
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Highlife musician, Kofi Kinaata said, “It is not a bad idea but how they will implement it is my worry. I believe every brand needs an insurance backup and as artistes, we are not exempted. It is a very good move.”
For actor/producer Eddie Nartey, although it was not a bad idea, what they needed now was a system that would help actors.
“We need the structures to work, we need systems to be put in place so that they can get the royalties. When the actors make money, they will be able to cater for themselves and pay their bills.
“There should be markets for producers to sell their movies, then they can shoot more, pay these actors well and they can make money. But on the whole, it is a good thing,” he stated.
Singer Lamisi was all for the initiative but said there was more work to be done. “As a young person, I would say this step is a great one but I think the ministry or leaders in the industry should work on gaining our trust.
“Socrate and his team started the Showbiz Credit Union or so about two years ago but till date, we don’t know the state of that project. We have the issues of GHAMRO, they have not been able to convince us that they can do the work so how can we trust that this one will work, when they start will they be able to finish?” she asked.
Bismark The Joke
Actor/comedian, Bismark the Joke, gave the initiative his approval. “I think it is a good one, it will help us when we grow old and we will not have to depend on government for any assistance. I believe the people who come out to beg for money and all that are not happy to do that, it is because of situations and if this step is taken, it can help,” he stated.
He, however, echoed Eddie Nartey’s recommendation for ready markets for movies.
“We need good market strategies to sell our movies because currently, the only thing producers do is to premiere the movies and then it is given to internet platforms such as Iroko TV. The question is what about the old folks who do not have access to the internet? Then we have lost them,” he said.
Hiplife artiste, D Cryme, said he was wondering now the ministry would be able to convince the artistes to come on board.
“Some of us already have such policies with other companies so how would they convince us to join? Artistes are not monthly income earners, we do not retire, you either make money or you don’t so they should intensify the convincing aspect and I hope that when they do and the time comes for those involved to go for what is due them, we will not hear stories,” he said.
Actress/model, Jessica Larnyoh, lauded the idea saying “it is a good one, it will help during retirement because we hear stories of some of the veterans who are so broke and it is very scary for the young ones coming up like me so something like this will help the situation but the trust is the issue.”
According to Socrate Safo, the insurance policy would be renewed yearly while Madam Barbara Oteng Gyasi said the scheme would be handled by GLICO.