THE Lesotho creative industry on Thursday last week requested the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to assist in the development of the art sector, which is lagging-behind.
Through this dialogue established to enable the artistes to voice their needs and challenges, participants said with support, the sector had the capacity to create employment opportunities and to help market the country.
They said the creative industry was one of the under-developed sectors with potential to stimulate the economy. The artistes felt that with the signing of the MCC second compact, the sector should also be a key priority sector for development.
The objective of the compact is to encourage equitable and sustainable economic growth in partnership with the private sector through removing key constraints to growth.
Among other challenges, the artistes explained they faced stereotypical mentality that did not view art seriously but as a hobby not warranting significant investment.
“It should start at school, unless art is viewed as an equally important subject such as science, Mathematics, English and other subjects, the sector will never develop,” one of the artistes.
Lack of rewarding markets and appreciation from the public, one of the artistes said, was among the challenges impeding the development of the sector.
Some of the artistes also expressed the need for the government to demonstrate support for the industry. “Particularly when it comes to the 14 percent tax rebate we have to pay when we export our products while at the same time we are also paying corporate tax, it leaves us with very little profit. The issue of tax is also making it hard for potential partners to invest in our businesses.”
The artistes want the tax reviewed downward to attract artistes from other countries who can help boost the sector. They further explained the need to review the legislation to enable protection of their work and facilitate the establishment of a body to govern issues to do the royalties.