Stakeholders in the creative sector have urged the federal government to provide tax incentives to the private sector to enable them invest in the art and literary industry.
They made the call at a press conference held recently in Lagos to announce the 6th edition of the ‘Quramo festival of words’ slated to hold from October 7 to October 9, 2022.
Tax incentives is a reduction in taxes that encourages companies to take actions that will help the country’s economy.
If private sector participation is increased, according to the experts, Nigeria will be well positioned to contribute to the global creative economy, and be well equipped to reshape African stories.
Jude Idada, a screenwriter and actor said when creatives are encouraged to produce works that “travel” and can be measured globally, the country is “guaranteed a repatriation of funds”.
Stakeholders Seek Tax Incentives To Encourage Investment In Creative Sector
“The outputs of the creative itself is a product and that product is marketable. And what is marketable obviously, is monetised. And these things are also globally mobile and move across borders,” Idada said.
“Whatever work they do when they’re going to perform in concerts abroad, they have to bring the money back. So, the money comes into our economy and it comes in foreign exchange and we know that the economy is dying for foreign exchange.
“So, the more the creatives are encouraged to produce works that can travel universally, works that are measured globally, and can be consumed by people of different races from different nations and all, we are guaranteed a repatriation of funds, the more those monies come back, the better our economy is for it.”
Idada, said creatives, especially writers, find it most challenging to distribute their work due to the lack of sufficient libraries and bookstores.
He also said writers need grants because writing takes their time, and, according to him, “whatever takes your time has to be able to pay your bills”.
The actor said in developed countries, writers get grants, both grants from government and non-governmental organizations.
“So, the rich men have to start doing this. They call them endowments in the arts,” Idada explained.
“After all that is done, the government has a place to play in terms of the policies, creative-friendly policies that are put in place that support us. Things like tax rebates, things like free permits, things like security for filmmakers that have to go and shoot in a neighborhood, how they sure they are protected?
“Number two, private industry, that’s one of the things that’s very important, we have to encourage [them]. That’s where the dynamism of tax [is important]. Let me give an example. Now they say that as an industry, if you invest like you tar a road, you get it out of your taxes.
“They should also say that kind of stuff about the creative industry. Tell the industries, if you support creative expressions, like the Quramo festival, whatever you support it with, there’s something you get back for it.”
On her part, Gbemi Shasore, executive publisher, Quramo Publishing Limited, said this year’s theme, ‘Africa positive’ intends to spur Africa into documenting, celebrating and reporting stories of “our contribution to the global creative economy”.
However, she bemoaned government’s contribution towards the growth of Nigeria’s literary space.
“I’m not happy because a lot more can be done,” she said.
“Having said that, we’re picking up and doing what we need to do. We have an association that’s up and doing. We are creating new stuff, innovations and get on with it as best as we can.
“I’m hoping that government will come on board with us and take us to where we need to go.”
Source: The Cable