‘Cultural facility needs to be funded’

While pleading with local artistes to take advantage of the incentives provided under the Cultural Industries Development Act (CIDA), Minister of Culture, Sport and Youth Stephen Lashley is reporting that the Cultural Industries Development Fund (CIDF) is in need of topping up.

Among other things, the Act provides for the funding for cultural projects and duty-free concessions and income tax benefits for cultural projects and for related matters.

Those who are able to benefit from the Act are cultural practitioners and private sector citizens and businesses. By investing in the cultural industries, the private sector is given the necessary tax write-off on their investment.

The Cultural Industries Development Authority, a statutory organization, was created to administer the Act.

The CIDF is financed through gifts, grants, donations, money from the private sector and other sources.

Addressing the opening of the Conduits to Commerce workshop on music synchronization licensing at the Coconut Court Hotel on Tuesday, Lashley said it was Government’s recognition of the importance of the creative industries that led to the introduction of the Act almost two years ago.

Lashley could not immediately say how many artistes had registered with CIDA. However, he called on those who had not yet done so to quickly register in order to benefit from the incentives.

“I wish to encourage you to do so as soon as possible so that you can benefit form duty-free and VAT (Value Added Tax) exemption on imports of trade promotion through the directory of Barbadian cultural practitioners, and the variety of programmes which the authority has been implanting,” the minister said.

He added that while Government had created the enabling environment, it was up to those in the industry to “think like a business person” and ensure they earn a decent living and grow profitable businesses.

Lashley did not disclose the level of liquidity of the Fund, but he seemed to suggest that the Ministry of Finance was tight-fisted when it came to financing it.

“That fund of course needs now to be capitalized. So maybe you can join me in convincing the Minister of Finance to put some money into that fund – capitalize that fund. I am an advocate for that.

“I think that without the finances within the context of providing various tiers, whether it is grants or soft loans to the creators, then of course the process will not be as fast as desired. That is a component we are working on in terms of getting the necessary finances and have that fund capitalized. We are doing some things within our current Budget but of course we need some more money to do more,” he said.

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