Ugandan government considers pension for musicians

May 20 , 2015 The many cases of famous musicians in Uganda who live and die in poverty and hardship have prompted the Ugandan government and stakeholders in the country to consider introducing a pension fund for this group of artists. The pension will especially support old musicians and their dependents.

Discussions began yesterday at the conference in commemoration of the World day for cultural diversity and development in Uganda.  Known as World Culture Day in Uganda, it is celebrated on the 21st of May each year.

The conference featured the likes of Mr. Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director National Social Security Fund who presented a paper titled, “Is there a need for the formation of a Uganda music industry pension fund?” Uganda Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General Doris Akol, also present, spoke about the potential of music business in the economic transformation in Uganda.

Richard Kaweesa, a music entrepreneur said musicians both in the past and today are faced with the same dilemma of being very famous but poor. He cited the case of a very popular musician who just passed on and was to be buried on the same day as the conference, saying despite his fame, he was extremely poor and could barely fend for his family.

Richard is quoted as saying “If this trend has not changed, then it is not about to even with the current big names that we have. Therefore we need to find a solution to factor them in the music industry pension fund to allow for people to sustain their livelihood even when they die,”

The group also discussed payment of musicians’ royalties, especially by media and broadcast stations.

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