The much touted Cultural Industries Development Act will be proclaimed on February 1, more than a year after Parliament approved the legislation.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said the Act would provide a range of incentives to all players in the creative sector.
“I believe this is welcomed news for Barbados and, in particular, to members of the creative sector. They have been waiting for quite a while to have these incentives and with the proclamation of the Act those incentives will be available,” he told journalists today at a news conference at his Haggatt Hall office.
The Act provides for the establishment of a regulatory framework to facilitate and encourage the sustainable growth and development of cultural industries, funding for cultural projects, and duty-free confessions and income tax benefits in respect of cultural projects and related matters.
The legislation also makes provision for the creation of a Cultural Industries Development Authority which will be statutory corporation.
Minister Lashley said the authority would function as a separate entity from the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) which would undergo some changes.
“It will not be duplication but there will be some resources within the NCF which we are going to transfer into the authority. With all of this, the National Cultural Foundation, with all of its mandate and its work, will be recalibrated to focus on cultural development both at the community level and the national level, but most importantly it will forge international connections and relations.”
Lashley said he would be returning to Cabinet shortly with recommendations for the composition of the authority.
He disclosed that the first priority of the authority would be the creation of a Cultural Industries Development Fund.
“Working with the ministry of Finance we will pursue opportunities by which we can capitalize that fund to be able to provide the kind of financing for the sector,” he said.
Lashley noted that the cultural industries sector had been indentified as a key pillar in propelling the local economy to recovery.
He said one of the key components of the sector was to make provision for the private sector to be able to invest in the cultural industries, and to do so in a way that would allow for investment to be given the necessary tax write off.
In addition, Lashley noted that emphasis would be placed on building the export potential of the creative sector.
He said authority and the ministry would work with development partners to ensure that the creative sector can access new markets to export its products and services. He also revealed that overtures have been made to enter Brazil.
“The demand is there, I am aware that there are already key players in the sector that are operating in international markets. We have a very keen focus on the South American market and in particular Brazil.
“The Cabinet also approved an agreement of intent which would shortly be signed between the ministry and Brazil, Sao Paulo which would create the avenue for cultural, artistic exchange.”