OUTRAGEOUS: Kisumu allocates 6 M to arts and culture and 20 M to boda boda sheds

In the proposed county budget, Kisumu county has set aside an annoying 6 million to the arts and culture industry for the whole year. What is more annoying is that it will be used to just construct a perimeter fence at Kanyakwar cultural center. NOTHING FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT. This to me is the greatest joke and an insult to our development as a county. The committee has allocated 20 million shillings to build 10 boda boda shades instead.

Let’s take a look at what the arts has done to the Nigerian economy. Today it contributes over 59 billion shillings to their GDP five times than Kisumu’s county’s annual budget. The Nigerian government after the success of Kenneth Nnebue’s “living in Bondage” in 1992 did invest in the intellectual and talent development of the industry at a time when its contribution to its GDP was negligible. 20 years later the industry contributes close to 2% of its GDP according to the Nigerian Bureau of statistics. This contribution is equivalent to budgets of five counties in Kenya

In many forums, we have tried in vain to convince the government that the arts is a shining example of how not only creative industries can be used as vehicles to open doors to dialogue, identity, values , meanings, ownership, behavior change and understanding between people, but also to economic growth and development. The national government has started to listen to us, our county government has by proposing 6 million to our industry smeared cow dung on our faces. We shall not take this lying low. If this is not reversed we will have no otherwise but to join civil society groups in petitioning the controller of budget to suspend the implementation of this annoying budget.

If I was the person in charge of the county budget I would treat this matter with a lot of urgency since after the 2nd of May it will be beyond the artists reach.

Ochieng Bam

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