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President William Ruto’s promise to the creative industry

By Sylvania Ambani September 14th, 2022 3 min read

The creative industry is set to benefit from President William Ruto’s administration following a raft of measures it is looking to implement to grow the sector.

President Ruto, through the Kenya Kwanza party strategic policy, said that with the digital revolution, buttressed by Kenya’s good connectivity has opened up opportunities for this sector to be a significant economic actor in its own right.

Among some of the initiatives it plans to take includes, working with stakeholders to expand the space for creativity, including in the arena of freedom of expression and protection of intellectual property rights.

President Ruto’s government also plans to identify the incentives, capacity building and other support required from the State to scale up cultural production and the creative economy.

Also read: Ruto presides over swearing of six judges who were rejected by Uhuru

President Ruto’s administration will also mainstream the creative economy in Brand Kenya and commercial diplomacy, including appointing accomplished Kenyan artists and creative sector personalities as cultural ambassadors.

For arts and crafts, the Head of State is looking to develop a government Powered Arts and Crafts industry Information Portal. The Portal will help in listing different players in the industry and market their products.

The film industry was also not left out, President Ruto promised to pass the Creative Economy Bill that will enable establishment of a film fund. Through this fund modern equipment for film production will be purchased and made available for local film makers on a hire and lease basis.

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“We will review the Inter- County Licensing regime with a view of developing a single permit. Establish a green channel immigration scheme and protocol service for international film makers. We will also do benchmarking on competing film destination for international film makers in Africa and offer comparable or better incentives, this will help develop a film ecosystem that convenes all stakeholders tasked with revitalizing growth of the sector,” President Ruto said.

Through the Hustler Fund training on entrepreneurship for recording artistes will also be facilitated to ensure they are able to turn talent into business. The Head of State also touched on copyright laws which has been a major problem within the sector.

“Government will lead an awareness campaign on copyright laws and the enforcement mechanisms as a way of ensuring knowledge about the issue and increase earnings by artistes. For mobile tunes we will streamline the benefits that accrue to the artists from the skiza tunes and other revenue streams,” he said.

President Ruto, was sworn in on Tuesday as the fifth president of Kenya. In his maiden speech, as the president, he outlined a number of things his government will seek to fulfil.

Also read: Ministry of Diaspora to become newest docket in Ruto’s government

The creative industry has in the past cried foul over non recognition by previous administrations who they claimed neglected to create policies and laws that protect them.

One of the Industry biggest win was in April 2022, when former President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Copyright (Amendment) Bill that will ensure artistes get up to 52 per cent of revenue collected from call back tunes, which translate to billions of shillings.

The annual gross revenue from the tunes is Sh7.58 billion. Artistes are now set to earn more than half of this amount. The government has also issued a 10 per cent excise tax exemption on Skiza.

Artistes previously received only 16 per cent of the proceeds, while 25 percent and 51 percent went to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and mobile phone operators, respectively.

Also read: ‘I feel proud’: Chebukati thanks President Ruto for recognising IEBC