Stakeholders seek tax incentives to encourage investment in creative sector

Stakeholders in the creative sector have urged the federal government to provide tax incentives to the private sector to allow them to invest in the arts and literature industry.

They made the call at a press conference recently held in Lagos to announce the sixth edition of the ‘Quramo words festival’, which will take place from 7-9 October 2022.

Tax incentives are a reduction in taxes that encourages companies to take actions that help the country’s economy.

By increasing private sector involvement, experts say, Nigeria will be well positioned to contribute to the global creative economy and well equipped to reshape African histories.

Jude Idada, a screenwriter and actor, said that when creatives are encouraged to produce work that “travels” and can be measured globally, the country is “guaranteed a repatriation of funds.”

“The results of creativity itself are a product and that product is marketable. And what is marketable, obviously, is monetized. And these things are also globally mobile and move across borders,” Idada said.

“Whatever work they do when they go to concerts abroad, they have to pay it back. So money comes into our economy and it comes in foreign currency and we know that the economy is dying for foreign currency.

“So the more creatives are encouraged to produce works that can travel universally, works that are measured globally and can be consumed by people of different races from different nations and everything, we are guaranteed a repatriation of funds, the more that money come back, the better our economy will be for it.”

Idada said that creatives, especially writers, find it more difficult to distribute their work due to a lack of sufficient libraries and book stores.

He also said that writers need grants because writing takes time, and according to him, “whatever takes your time has to be able to pay its bills.”

The actor said that in developed countries, writers get grants, both from government and non-government organizations.

“So rich men have to start doing this. They call them endowments in the arts,” Idada explained.

“After everything that has been done, the government has a place to play in terms of policies, creativity-friendly policies that are implemented and that support us. Things like tax refunds, things like free permits, things like security for filmmakers who have to go shoot in a neighborhood, how are they sure they’re protected?

“Number two, private industry, that is one of the things that is very important, we have to encourage [them]. That is where the dynamism of taxes [is important]. Let me give an example. Now they say that as an industry, if you invest like tarring a road, you take it out of your taxes.

“They should also say those kinds of things about the creative industry. Tell the industries, if you support creative expressions, like the Quramo festival, whatever you support it with, there is something you get in return.”

For her part, Gbemi Shasore, executive editor of Quramo Publishing Limited, said this year’s theme, ‘Positive Africa’, aims to encourage Africa to document, celebrate and report stories of “our contribution to the global creative economy”.

However, he lamented the government’s contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s literary space.

“I’m not happy because much more can be done,” she said.

“Having said that, we are picking up and doing what we have to do. We have a partnership that is up and running. We are creating new things, innovations and we do it the best we can.

“I hope the government will join us and take us where we need to go.”

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