The KEPSA Sports, Culture and Arts Sector Board held a meeting with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage on 11th May 2020. The meeting aimed to discuss the issues facing the sports and creative sector due to COVID-19 pandemic, what has been done so far, discuss the various proposal in mitigating the effect of COVID-19 to the sector and develop a long-term strategy.
In her introductory remarks, KEPSA CEO, Ms. Carole Karuga noted that from the KEPSA Survey done last month, the sports and creative sector is one of the sectors that has been hit hard by the pandemic, placed at top three most affected. This is because the sector depends on gatherings and conference-based. She added that KEPSA is keen on working together with the Ministry and other key stakeholders to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 and execute the opportunities that will arise out of the pandemic.
The Sports Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed while giving her remarks noted that KEPSA has been one of the biggest partners of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage. She informed the meeting that the many changes that have been carried out in the Ministry were successful due to the support of KEPSA, especially on the legislative agenda. There has been a lot of value addition from KEPSA on bills and policy framework for the sector. Amb. Amina added that she was grateful for the collaboration in ensuring the sector bounce back after the pandemic.
The Sports, Culture and Arts Sector Board Chairperson, Mr. Herbert Mwachiro appreciated the CS Amina for the timely meeting. He acknowledged the effort being done by the ministry in supporting the sportspersons and people from the creative sector. He observed that the creative sector has already gotten a head-start through the launch of the framework of funding the creative sector through the KES 100 million from the sports, Art and Social Development Fund. The framework had been launched by the Amb. Amina earlier in the day. Mr. Mwachiro informed the meeting that the focus in the sports sector should not be on sportspersons only but the whole value chain of the sports industry. He said that the sector board would like to work closely with the Ministry for a post-CoVID-19 recovery plan. He proposed a formation of a taskforce for both the sports and creative sector for data gathering and then develop a post-COVID-19 recovery strategy for both sectors.
KEPSA Director in charge of Sports, Mr. Graham Shaw, while giving his remarks, congratulated the Cabinet Secretary for the launch of the framework for supporting the creative sector and ‘Together at Home’ Campaign. He noted that Kenya is full of great history, culture and phenomenal sportspersons. He observed that it is a difficult time but could be used as an opportunity. He added that the ministry could collaborate with the various Kenya superstars in various countries to help in fundraising for the sports and creative sector. He concluded by saying that citizens should be entertained because of the various physiological impact of the pandemic by supporting the creative sector players who will, in turn, create content to entertain the citizens.
The meeting was informed that the private sector working with other stakeholders has been supporting players and people from the sector who have lost their livelihood as a result of COVID-19 Pandemic in the Country. Key players from the sector have been creating content in enhancing awareness about COVID-19 and coordination of the sector in the creative sector by bringing various sub-sector together. Besides, KEPSA’s survey that indicated how various sectors like sports and creative have been largely affected, HEVA Fund has done a survey on the impact of COVID 19 on the creative sector. Several film producers and content creators have also come together to build the Kenyan brand into the content that they are producing.
KEPSA gave several proposals to the ministry on how the government and other key stakeholders in the sector could support the Sports and Creative Sector. Some of the key proposals were:
- Establish a funding mechanism through the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to support the sports sector.
- Tax Relief measure for all event-related companies that have lost businesses as a result of cancellations of key events
- Counselling services specific for sportsmen and sportswomen be set up to deal with emotional distress.
- Government and Media to be encouraged to work together in using sportspersons and creative sector players as message ambassadors in combating Covid-19 in print and electronic media as well the digital space
- Access to immediate cash relief for cash strapped artists who are living hand to mouth to apply towards rent, food and basics coordinated and disbursed through Ministry
- Access to soft financial facilities for those in the creative sector who are registered entities with relaxed repayment terms of at least 12 months.
- The establishment of the three joint sector committees (sports, creative and Legal)
As a way forward the meeting agreed the following;
- The formation of the three joint working committees
- Collaboration between the Ministry and the private sector in supporting our athletes and people from the creative sector.
- Preparation of post-COVID recovery strategy
- The Ministry requested for collaboration between them and KEPSA in sponsoring a survey to the sector to gather data that will help in the preparation of the post-COVID recovery strategy.
In her closing remarks, the Cabinet Secretary appreciated KEPSA for the continued support not only in policy and legislation but also on infrastructure. She observed that the meeting was timely and there was a need for continued engagement to ensure growth in the sector. She noted that she was grateful for every contribution to the meeting. She further requested the private sector to adopt to ancient and historical monuments to help in conservation.