Minister Michael Usi dishes out K210m in COSOMA royalties

Minister of Tourism, Michael ‘Manganya’ Usi has expressed concern over failure by women artists to qualify for the ‘millionaire category’ in the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) royalties.

Usi said this on Monday, May 31, 2021 at Lilongwe Hotel when he presided over a ceremony to award royalties amounting to K210 million to various artists under the blank media levy category.

Michael ‘Manganya’ Usi

The minister said although he was delighted to preside over the function whose objective is to ensure that artists are earning a decent income from their sweat, he was not particularly amused to note that there was no single female artist among the recipients who has made it into the millionaire category.

“This is obviously not a perfect scenario because we know there are so many capable female artists in this country, not only in the music industry but also in other art sub-sectors such as film making, drama etc, who have the potential to make it big in the field.

“I, therefore, want to urge COSOMA and the whole establishment to take deliberate measures in ensuring that female artists have the space to achieve their latent potential,” said Usi.

He said it is the interest of President Lazarus Chakwera through the Ministry of Tourism to see that there is an enabling environment to motivate artists to be creative and to reach their full potential.

“As a ministry, I can assure you that we are doing all we can and we will do everything possible to make sure that you are earning from your sweat as artists and that nobody is illegally benefiting from your work,” Usi told the artists that gathered at the function.

He added that his ministry in partnership with COSOMA is working to ensure that there is a powerful structural framework to look after artists in this country.

Added the minister: “One of the biggest challenges pulling artists down is piracy. We must understand that pirates are often ahead of artists in terms of developing or adopting the technology that aid their illegal activities. This is not the right state of affairs and it must stop. Artists don’t always have to play catch-up with pirates all the time, which is why we must develop a concerted approach to beat their creativity and eradicate these criminals from among us.”

Several artists from the music and film making industries were among the recipients of the royalties in the millionaire category ranging from a little over a million to a couple of millions.

The recipients from the film industry were Dave Masamba, Isaac Misoya, Blazio Kanyongo, Yusuf Nsosa Steven Masamba and Aaron Chambo.

Recipients from the music industry included Patience Namadingo, Martin Nkhata, Duncan Ziyambo, Shumburani Mwachumu ( Janta), Smart Banda ( Maseba), Skeffa Chimoto, Lawrence Khwisa ( Lulu), Billy Kaunda, Elli Njuchi, Dan lufani, Frank Chawinga or Wiksy, Lucius Banda, Kel Kambwili (Kel K) and Atoti Manje.

In his remarks representing all artists, Atoti Manje said he was delighted that a function to honour artists was represented by the Minister of Tourism. He thus thanked government for showing interest in the plight of musicians and artists in general in the country, particularly for helping the artists during this time when they are failing to hold live shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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