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Government Earmarks Shs10 Billion To Address Covid Pandemic Shocks

Government Earmarks Shs10 Billion To Address Covid Pandemic Shocks

In a bid to revive culture and tourism sector that was badly hit by covid pandemic, the government through ministry of gender has earmarked shs10 billion as stimulus fund to the sector.

Permanent Secretary Aggrey Kibenge told culture stakeholders during world culture day celebration in Kampala.

He however called players in the industry to use the money well to rebuild creative industry to eradicate wide spread poverty due to lockdown.

“Government is committed to upholding dialogues with culture players so that creative industry blossoms. The sector has shown Resilience so government will support it to recover to full potential,” Kibenge said.

He said the creative industry has the potential to generate 3.8 trillion revenue per year and government is the right direction to establish creative hub to grow the sector.

However according to Charles Butambuze who doubles as Executive Secretary of National Book Trust of Uganda. Uganda lost close to shs 15 billion per month due to impact of covid 19 pandemic despite Uganda having very rich cultural heritage.

“There is no doubt that Uganda has very rich cultural heritage. In fact a 2017 study by Harvard University found that Uganda is the most ethnically diverse country in the world. This rich cultural heritage which includes traditional cultural expressions, tangible heritage and culture and creative industries is in crisis on account of the out break of the covid 19 pandemic,”Batambuze.

He explained that the covid 19 pandemic has halted festivals, practices and rituals like kadodi. Covid pandemic slowed and many cases wiped away markets for traditional crafts products and services of the culture and creative industries like public concerts and performances, exhibitions, festivals, trainings.

” Estimates by government show that the music industry alone lost shs15 billion within a period of one month following the lock down in match 2020,”

Batambuze however says covid 19 measures including some which are still in place like bans on public gathering, night time curfews, social distancing measures, closure of performances, beaches, recreational and entertainment spaces, bars, galleries, Museums, schools, universities, sports centres, libraries, bookshops and public spaces, restrictions on businesses and closure of concerts have in most cases brought social and economic life to a halt and thus impacting society.

Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda director Barbara Batweteera in a comment thanked government for the funds however called on government to enforce copy right law, open up creative spaces like bars and festivals saying players are ready to observe sops.

“Government is more than ever willing to listen to culture heritage practitioners now more than ever. This is so because culture heritage are not only the economic drivers and source of employment for many especially women and young people but through the diversity of content they generate, they are also conveyors of meanings and identities which have proven to be vital through out the crisis. Cultural and heritage practitioners therefore need to piggy bank on the several government programme for collaboration and promotion, “she said.

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