By Michael Odeng
The Government has pledged to support authors and publishers to explore their potential and earn income from their trade. This was revealed by the Minister of State for Gender and Culture, Rukia Nakadama, at the opening of the 20th National Book Week Festival in Kampala on Wednesday.
She said her ministry was spearheading the national creative economy committee, a product of the Presidential Investor Round Table.
Nakadama explained that the committee will advocate for the creative economy as a vehicle for job creation.
“The Government is committed to supporting various initiatives under this committee. I believe that authors, publishers, printers and other related investors who fall under the creative industries, will take advantage of this initiative to enrich their productivity,” she said.
Under the initiative, representatives of artistes’ communities will be actively involved in formulating policies for the country’s development.
This follows an outcry over the years that artistes are not supported by the Government, yet they contribute to the economy in terms of their creative input, employment and payment of taxes.
The festival was held at Garden City Rooftop in Kampala under the theme: “Uganda @50: Celebrating books and literacy to mark 20th edition of the Book Week”.
Nakadama said authors and publishers play an integral part of the schools’ curriculum and the economic development of the country, hence the need to promote them at the grassroots.
The chairman of the National Book Trust of Uganda, David Kibuuka, said the Government at 50 should escalate the desired literacy levels at 100 years by appreciating the power of books.
He asked the Government to address challenges of lack of access to relevant reading materials, a poor reading culture, uncoordinated actors in the book and literacy industry, absence of a school library policy and inadequate facilities to promote literacy.