L-R: Fred Kyei Mensah, Mark Okraku Mantey, Nana Akufo Addo and Ellen Omaboe
Music Producer Mark Okraku Mantey has said while government has increased its budgetary allocation to the creative arts industry in this year’s budget, he believes Nana Akufo Addo would have done far better.
The Government increased its budgetary allocation to the creative industry in the 2013 budget affirming a promise made to the sector last year by President John Dramani Mahama.
Government for the first time made an allocation of GH¢2 million in the 2012 budget for the industry and increased it to GH¢3 million this year.
Disagreements erupted after it emerged that only members of the musicians union accessed the funds. Some players in the movie industry were unhappy with the incident prompting the government to increase the allocation.
But speaking in an interview with Myjoyonline.com Mark said the creative arts industry deserved more than the GH¢3 million.
This was after he led a group of creative arts professionals - Creative Arts for Change – to pay a courtesy call on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, Nana Akufo Addo at his office at Ridge in Accra Wednesday.
According to Okraku Mantey, “At least we knew we were going to get a multipurpose theatre in Kumasi, we knew he [Nana Akufo Addo] had plans for GH¢10 million not GH¢3 million,” something he strongly believes the NPP candidate would have fulfilled if he had assumed the presidency.
He lamented that although it was communicated that the creative industry was allocated GH¢2 million last year, only a group accessed the money.
“It had been given to just a sector of our industry, that is MUSIGA, it was communicated it was given to the whole creative arts but really the money was give to a particular group which we believe it’s because it had some political connection with the ruling government,” that is why some persons were not excited by the allocation, he said.
The music producer prayed that the current allocation of GH¢3 million will be disbursed appropriately. “It was communicated same last year and what happened, just a few people got control over it and they are the only people who can tell what the money was used for,” he added.
Asked what prompted the meeting with Nana Akufo Addo, Mark said Creative Arts for Change believes in the fact that after the keenly contested elections and its challenges, “people like Nana Addo will need friends, lovers to show their love and as supporters of his dream and ideals just a few months ago, it is about time we came to show that we are still with him sometimes just a pat on the shoulder, sometimes when somebody makes you feel you matter it gives you the strength, it gives you some edge.”
He said the group solidly supports the 2012 NPP flagbearer and they believe that “every individual should know what is good for him and what’s not good for him,” and so “if we do not share your ideals and we think we want a change we will let the whole know we want a change.”
Nana Akufo Addo, who was overwhelmed by the visit, thanked the group for their support during his campaign and the elections. “It is very thoughtful and considerate of you to come and look for me and see how I am.”
He said the party’s case before the court challenging the outcome of the elections, “is going to start next week and I anticipate that soon we will get to the end of it and we will know where we stand.”
Apart from Mark Okraku Mantey, the Creative Arts for Change delegation also included Fred Kyei Mensah of Fredyma Studios and actress and film producer, Ellen Omaboe.