Tayebwa backs music industry as new path to economic transformation

KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has insisted that the music industry needs to be supported by the government, describing the sector as one of the avenues to reach the much sought after social economic transformation.

Defending his earlier suggestion of a music battle between music legends; Joseph Mayanja better known by the stage name Jose Chameleone, and Bebe Cool real name Moses Ssali; Tayebwa said the sector needs a lot of support ranging from legal reforms to deliberate economic interventions.

“To say there are more important things to do than promoting the music industry is a clear indication of the neglect, stigmatization, and a lack of understanding of what this sector contributes to our GDP,” the deputy speaker said.

Quoting figures from the Uganda Performance Rights Society (UPRS), he said the industry will be able to employ over 500,000 people by 2030 with revenues of UGX280bn.

“Currently, it contributes UGX140bn to our economy,” Tayebwa said in a detailed statement on social platform X, formally Twitter.

“As leaders, we cannot ignore such a sector. It needs a lot of support ranging from legal reforms to deliberate economic interventions. Moreover, music heals and some of us seek refuge in it when the going gets tough. Let the battles go on!” he added.

Early in the week, Tayebwa suggested that he relished a live music battle between Chameleone and Bebe Cool. The suggestion attracted mixed reactions with some Ugandans embracing the suggestions while others called him out urging him to focus on advocating more on a fully functional copyright law.

Commenting on the battle, Singer Bebe Cool defended Tayebwa’s position saying a music battle between him and Chameleone is one the whole country would relish, adding that it is a reaffirmation and confirmation that the government is always willing to support talent in Uganda.

He said that government support for the music battle would go miles to assure young Ugandans emerging in the talent industries (arts and sports) that these are full-time jobs that the government takes seriously.

“Governments in Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania have directly supported musicians and now Nigerian musicians are running music world over. Governments know when their top artists are rich; they can easily support budding artists through music labels,” he said.

Bebe Cool said that a music battle can bring talkability for a year and hence boost the industry.

“I have seen people fly from different countries to go and watch music concerts. We started our careers in Nairobi Kenya, we have fans all over Africa. Such a battle can attract people to Uganda. This promotes tourism. At the end of the day, the money invested in us trickles down to other artists,” he said.

“Managing and promoting an artist requires huge investment. By investing in us, the government is investing in younger artists as well,” Bebe Cool added