Nollywood actor Osita Iheme popularly called Pawpaw has spoken strongly against the call by pressure group, Federation Of Concerned Arts Professionals (FOCAP) for the Ghanaian government to institute work permit for creative arts professionals from other countries.
Zionfelix.net listening to the peeved actor during a chat with Kwame Buckman on Top FM in Accra opined that it is not right for Ghana to charge foreigners who travel here to work. He argued on the Saturday entertainment show that Nigerians do not demand work permit from outsiders before they operate in his country so it will not make sense for Ghana to do otherwise.
The ‘Aki Na Ukwa’ actor further noted that foreign entertainers traveling to Ghana for work promote the country’s tourism and also create employment for the citizens. Explaining why Nigeria does not demand work permit from outsiders before giving them the go-ahead to operate, the diminutive actor disclosed that “Nigeria is a big country that we always want to be first all the time so we create room for producers all over the world to come and shoot movies because you bring money into the country, develop the talents in the country, create jobs and you also promote the tourism of the country”.
Sharing his ordeal when he traveled to Ghana to shoot a Kumawood movie, Pawpaw revealed that an association demanded cash from the producer who employed his services. According to him, he could not fathom why a member of the African Union would request work permit from him before he is allowed to work.
To him, the cash demanded from him before working in Ghana “was not nice, not fair and not good. Ghana should not be doing that. They should not be charging people who come to their country to work.”
When Kwame Buckman, host of the show asked him if he believes Ghana should not demand work permit from foreigners as FOCAP is pleading with the government to enact a law to that effect, Osita Iheme boldly replied that “no it is not fair and it is not good. This is Africa and we are to promote each other”
“It is not nice to charge people who come to Ghana for a job. It is not necessary to take money and other requirements from them before they can work. I mean what are you going to do with the money you will be charging the foreigners? The are coming to spend money in your country and also create jobs so why are you charging them?
The arts-based pressure group, FOCAP in a press statement pleaded with the government to institute a law to request a permit from foreign entertainers.
“READ PRESS STATEMENT BELOW..
We have noticed that over the years we have lost a lot of revenue through the non payment of work permit by creative arts professionals from other parts of the world that come to Ghana. Over the years, creative arts professionals who have come to Ghana to ply their trade, have entered our country without any form of work permit to give them restrictions and to generate revenue for our country. Musician, Actors, Actresses and a lot of Creative Arts Professionals come to work in Ghana, get paid and export the money out of Ghana without any work permit or income tax liability on them.
Creative arts professionals from Ghana to other parts of the world have always paid this levy/tax to their visiting countries through event promoters, production houses and others. FOCAP believes it is time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, the National Commission on Culture, Musician’s Union of Ghana, Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), Film Producers Association, Ministry of Finance and all the relevant domains come to the drawing board to institute some form of by law that would establish the payment of work permit by foreign nationals who come to ply their trade here.
FOCAP wishes to also recommend that a percentage of this revenue should be earmarked for the creative arts fund to be distributed to all the welfare funds under the various domains such as Ageing Musicians Welfare Fund instituted by the Musician Union of Ghana.
FOCAP believes this is a revenue stream if reviewed properly would generate funds that can be targeted at the creative arts industry. We also wish to suggest that, bearing in mind the very cordial marriage between tourism and creativity, a percentage of the tourism levy should be seeded for the development and empowerment of the welfare funds under the various creative arts domains.
FOCAP believes the sector Minister Mad. Catherine Afeku should be the lead of this discussion to make sure this is instituted under her watch and to also setup the board for the National Commission on Culture to run effectively because the full capacity of the commission would be needed in implementing such a measure.
FOCAP still awaits the appointment of the Executive Secretary by H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to the National Film Authority and the setting up of the board of the National Film Authority by the sector Minister (MOTAC).
Kojo Preko Dankwa (convener 0576655656)
Mel Kwesi Davis (converner 0246550298)”