The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) faces yet another probity and accountability test as it is being flayed over a GH?2 million government money for musicians the union claimed it used to conduct research.
It’s been five years since the government of Ghana in its 2012 budget read on November 16, 2011 by the then Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, allocated an amount of GHc2 million to creative arts industry.
“An amount of GH¢2 million has been allocated to support the creative arts industry in 2012,” Dr Duffour said when he presented the budget.
He further mentioned that the money was set aside to MUSIGA for the development of the creative arts industry.
Later, there were arguments as to whether the money was for the creative arts industry or MUSIGA. But MUSIGA took the money, with claims that they had applied for it from the Mahama-led government.
Five years on, music stakeholders are still having issue with how the money was used. Bice Osei Kuffour, also known as Obour, who is the president of MUSIGA, told Joy FM in 2014 that the money was used to conduct a comprehensive study of the Ghana music industry.
He said his major legacy will be the comprehensive study of the Ghana music industry, adding, “We lobbied, we were able to get the funding of two million Ghana cedis from the government of Ghana.”
“We invested this funding into the research that government wanted us to do. As we sit now, KPMG has completed a comprehensive research on the entire music industry,” he stated.
“People now can easily access the music industry, banks who want to invest into the industry can now have a document which will serve as a blueprint and so they can assist music industry professionals,” he mentioned in 2014.
It is three years after that statement, and it is not clear if musicians are enjoying the benefits as he said.
Meanwhile, some top players in the music industry are not convinced about the research, and one of those is iconic radio personality Kofi Okyere Darko, who is calling for probity.
According to the him, MUSIGA has failed to utilise the funds to the benefit of members of the union, insisting that the suggestion by Obuor that the fund was used to conduct research into the industry is “nonsense”.
“How has it affected the musicians in this country?
“Now has it benefitted the musicians? To know what the number of musicians we have in this country?” he told Ghanaweb.com.
“I have my challenges with the money that was given to MUSIGA. They found a way of trying to account for it but how has it benefitted the musicians? I think that we can’t have musicians in charge of the musicians and not use the money given by government in a judicious way to affect everyone positively. People earn next to nothing in royalties… It’s a challenge for me and I think that one day, they will have to account for how they really spent that money,” he added.