B Flow Shares Concerns Over K30 Million Youth Empowerment Targeting Artist

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In A post on his Facebook Account,He Writes

WILL YOUTHS WHO ARE NOT POLITICALLY CONNECTED BENEFIT FROM THE K30 MILLION YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PACKAGE TARGETING ARTISTS?

It is not so long ago when there was a call for artists to compose Covid-19 awareness songs. Every song that was produced for public broadcast had to be reviewed by the Ministry of Health to ensure that the lyrical content is correct. It was an exciting and timely opportunity for artists to finally earn an income following the economic effects of not having shows, concerts and festivals due to the ongoing restrictions on public gatherings.

Many artists (including myself) submitted songs to the Ministry. I even received a phone call to inform me that there was good news and that I needed to collect a clearance letter. Part of the letter read “following careful review of the submitted materials, the Ministry is satisfied with the content and therefore have cleared your material for broadcast and dissemination to the public”. To my surprise, the last part of the letter read “kindly note that clearance of the communication materials by MoH implies the material is suitable for broadcast or sharing with the public. It does NOT constitue procurement by the Ministry unless stated”. I made several attempts to find out what it meant but was told the budget had been exhausted.

In the weeks that followed, we were shocked to learn that the songs and music videos that we watched on TV were predominantly done by artists who have constantly been on political campaign tours (the usual suspects if you like).

In a country where awarding contracts and tenders to cadres has become the order of the day, what guarantee is there that youths will access funds on merit? In a country where opportunities are made available to people based on their political party affiliation, how will upcoming artists who are struggling to raise money for studio time benefit from the package? Other than musicians, will other youths who are not singers or are doing other forms of art benefit from the Youth Empowerment Scheme? How inclusive and accessible is this scheme to artists who are based in rural areas nationwide? I challenge the National Arts Council to ensure that this will be an inclusive undertaking without political interference in the selection process.

Lastly, we look forward to hearing more pronouncements and actions to address corruption, youth unemployment, the shrinking freedom of expression, non-payment of retirees, poor conditions of service for civil servants, unfair treatment of local employees by foreign investors and fair application of the law to all citizens regardless of their positions in society.