By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
According to a publication on www.ghanaweekend.com, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr. Mohammed Awal, has announced that the government will be building five multipurpose domes or amphitheatres this year.
He is said to have made this statement when he addressed the media last week Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
Under any normal circumstance, the creative industry ought to be excited by such news, but strangely, the information is being received with an admixture of feelings; feeling of shock, angst and confusion.
Interestingly, every kind of feeling elicited by the news is well justified!
5? This Year?
“We are going to build 5 amphitheatres, and domes. One area that we lack in this industry is that we don’t have multipurpose venues for activities. We’re going to do 5 this year. In fact, the process has already begun to procure supplies,” the Minister said.
This is quite laughable; the fact that the Minster claims that one area that we lack is multipurpose venues for activities.
Sir, we have known this fact since 2016, thanks to your government, which promised the creative industry and the entire country to build 9 ultra-modern theatres across 9 regions in the country.
As an industry, we know what our problems are, so, when NPP placed in its 2016 Manifesto that large-seating, ultra modern auditoriums would be built, it got the industry hooked and highly expectant but after almost 8 years, officials from the government seem confounded on the updates concerning that commitment.
“We are going to build 5 amphitheatres, and domes. We’re going to do 5 this year. In fact, the process has already begun to procure supplies.”
We have 2 months to close the year and the Minister is telling us that the government would build not 1, not 2 but 5 domes or theaters by end of 2022? A round of applause!
We have 2 months and the Minister is saying, “We are going to build,” and not “We are building or have already started building.” Interesting!
At this stage, the process to procure supplies to complete the building of 5 domes or amphitheaters has now started. Let the discerning minds discern the news.
When it comes the establishment of large-seating, ultra modern, multi-purposed building, there’s been different representation from officials from the Ministry since 2016.
First came the promise via the 2016 Manifesto to fix large theaters in 9 different regions except Greater Accra. Then came one excuse over the other on why Ghanaians were not seeing any construction.
We are told that, the large-seating theaters were rather meant for the renovation of the Regional Cultural Centers across the country.
But wait, there’s more!
For some reason (s), the government jettisoned the idea of constructing large-seating auditoriums and focused on what turned out to be a shoddy renovation of the Cultural Center in Koforidua and when queried, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture at the time, Dr. Ziblim Iddi said, the renovation of the auditorium was what they meant by saying they were going to build theatres across the region.
Even with renovation of the Cultural Centers across the country, the government has floundered to complete, yet, we are being promised 10 amphitheaters by 2024.
Here Comes Another Empty Promise?
The creative industry has suffered a raw deal by this government since the assumption of office. The government via its 2016 and 2020 Manifestos made lots of promises to the creative industry; from renovating the Efua Sutherland Childrens’ Park to setting up Copyright Offices to multi-purpose studio to a plethora of others, yet, virtually none has been fulfilled.
Some four (4) or so months ago, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey sat on Peace 104.3FM and spoke about the construction of these Domes and amphitheaters. In his words, the domes were easy to construct, so, it is not beyond the government to construct multiple of those.
Fast forward to just 2 months to complete the year and the Minister is telling us how government would complete five (5) before close of year and do another 5 before close of the year 2025.
Based on all the failed promises by the government, this looks like just another promise that would not be fulfilled.
We Are Not Expectant
The truth is; for quite a while, the creative industry has grown some sense of nonchalance when it comes to the government and all sorts of commitments.
In the past, there was so much agitation within the industry when the industry doesn’t get any mentions at Budget readings and State of the Nation addresses but that stopped. No one cares anymore. The industry has obviously grown weary of all the talk, all the promises that sound unrealistic and unachievable.
The industry has consolidated itself with the mindset that the government has nothing to offer this industry.
This news of constructing multiple domes or amphitheaters is being taken by the industry with a grain of salt; in fact, we are taking the news with no grain of salt. We are not expectant and treat such news as another ‘lie’ and of course, we have enough justification to repudiate such a promise.
Shame Us, Please!
It’s well accepted that we consider this promise, just like the myriad of others as a big fat ‘lie’. We do not believe the construction of any dome or amphitheater, especially when it is coming from a Minister who made an audacious $5-billion projection of inflow within his first two years in office when given the nod as Minister.
It is the same Minister who said that government is committing some $20 million towards the establishment of state-of-the-art studios for both music and film in the country, aimed at boosting investment in the sector as well as projecting the country as a film hub.
We do not believe anything that sounds like a promise to the creative industry; so, the government should shame the naysayers and for once, make one, just one promise come to fruition.
Shame us and let eat the humble pie, please; shame us!