Kojo Antwi

Kojo Antwi

The government has been called upon to take a critical look at the calls for probity and accountability of top officials of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) now Ghana Music Right Organisation (GHAMRO) by certain stakeholders in the music industry.

The call was made by some of the musicians, who alleged that for past years the GHAMRO board had not made public the total amount collected in royalties on behalf of Ghanaian musicians.

In separate interviews in Accra at the weekend the musicians said ?GHAMRO has been collecting and distributing royalties to musicians without telling them the mechanism or criteria used in the distribution as well as the total amount collected.?

They added that even though the Copyright Law required the society to render accounts to musicians every year, GHAMRO board has failed to do so.

The musicians therefore appealed to the government to set up a committee to probe GHAMRO as well as the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) which has also failed to tell its members how the GH?2 million given to the creative industry by government last year was used.

As a first step, the musicians said government should stop GHAMRO from further distribution of royalties for now because the stakeholders do not know the total amount collected on behalf of musicians.

According to them, government should place an embargo on all funds allocated to the creative arts industry and money collected on behalf of copyright owners for a probe to be conducted to know how much money had been collected so far on behalf of the right owners.

Some of the musicians said they had worked hard to establish a vibrant industry but their characters had been assassinated by some mafias in the industry to prevent them from checking wrongdoing, adding that some of them have stopped music production until there is sanity in the industry.

Enoch Agyapong, one of the seasoned music producers who has also added his voice to the call for a probe into the music industry said, ?We need to put in place professionals who have the skills and credibility to run the industry.?

He declared this is the time for all musicians as well as the stakeholders in the Ghanaian music industry to stand up and fight for their right because the industry does not belong to one person but all musicians.

Agyapong, who could not hide his feelings, said things must change before the end of this year and urged all Ghanaian musicians to come together and forge ahead.

On the issue of monies collected on behalf of musicians, Agyapong said ?it is our right to know the total amount collected on our behalf by GHAMRO. We need to know the total amount collected before distribution and criteria used in the distribution?.

One musician, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a large number of musicians in Ghana were poor and that BEATWAVES should use its medium to tell the government of their plight.

He told BEATWAVES: ?My brother we are tired of GHAMRO board members. They should leave because we don?t want them anymore. Look, some years back when Alhaji Sidiku Buari and his team were managing affairs at COSGA, the so called intellectuals now board members of GHAMRO, waged war against them, accusing them of corruption.

?Some of them even went on radio to warn music users not to pay royalties to Sidiku?s administration. In fact, we have come to realise that Sidiku?s administration, which is far better than today?s, paid royalties to musicians twice in every year during its eight years in office.?

He commended the former president of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Alhaji Sidiku Buari, for his hard work and commitment during his eight years of leadership, which earned the music industry success this year.

He called for drastic measures to be taken to weed out all those whose activities have contributed to the failure of Ghana?s music industry.

By George Clifford Owusu

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