President Nana Akufo-Addo has disclosed that plans are far advanced for the construction of a theatre for the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi.
The president, who made this known while delivering the 2019 State of the Nation address to Parliament on Thursday also said, a theatre for Eastern region is almost completed.
The construction of these theatres, he noted, is part of several initiatives by the government to give the country’s creative arts sector a facelift.
“We are continuing with initiatives to improve the creative arts sector. We’ve also worked to finalise the Creative Arts Bill leading to the setting up of the Creative Arts Fund,” the president said.
According to him, “for the first time in 2018, government provided support to the Creative Art and creative arts master class to build the capacity of creative arts practitioners.”
“The Eastern regional theatre is being completed and work is currently is ongoing towards the construction of the Kumasi Theatre,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also revealed that “the World Bank has approved a $40 million grant to support the Tourism Ministry and its agencies to help upgrade tourist facilities.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its manifesto for the tourism and creative arts sector ahead of the 2016 elections, promised to build theatres in the remaining nine regions of the country.
The manifesto said, “Pursue the construction of modern large seating theatres in every regional capital except Accra, beginning with Takoradi, Tamale and Kumasi, as well as setting up an additional copyright office in Tamale to cater for the northern sector in addition to the existing ones in Accra and Kumasi.”
The president’s revelation Thursday seems to contradict Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ziblim Iddi, who in September last year, revealed in an interview with JoyNews’ MzGee that the government will not be able to fulfil its campaign promises to the creative arts sector by 2020.
According to Dr Ziblim Iddi, who said he was being “realistic,” the promise by the NPP to build a theatre for each region was not time bound.
“If you go to the manifesto, we didn’t put timelines on this. If by 2020 we are not able to do all 10, Ghanaians should be rest assured that if given the second chance and I know they will give us the second chance, this President will complete it,” he stated.
“To be realistic, we are not at a point where I can say that in this four years, the first term of this President we will be able to do that and I am just being realistic about it but in the end this President [Akufo-Addo] will likely be given an 8-year mandate by the people of Ghana,” he added.