Revise ‘Blanket Levy’ … Rex Omar Appeals to Parliament of Ghana

The Chairman of the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) Rex Omar, has emphasized the importance of reinstating the former ‘Blanket Levy’ to help increase revenue generated from music royalties collection in the country. However, he added that modern technology and other present day advancements in the distribution and publishing of music would have to be considered as a possible upgrade to the levy. He said this while speaking at the National Music Summit held in Accra on 21st June 2022.

The Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) has embraced the advancements in technology with regards to the music industry. However, the Collections Management Organization believes certain measures need to be put in place in order not to rob Ghanaian musicians of the fruits of the labour. Celebrated Ghanaian pioneer Highlife musician and Chairman of GHAMRO Rex Omar, emphasized this at the National Music Summit. “If you remember, there was something called ‘Blanket Levy’, and there was a law which allowed the government to collect a 20% levy on all recordable items such as CDs, cassettes, pen drives, etc. to compensate the loss caused by piracy. But now, the law has become obsolete because, who brings CDs or cassettes?”,
he explained.

Furthermore, Rex Omar stated that GHAMRO was indeed working behind the scenes on a document which will eventually be presented to Parliament as a way forward for the enactment of a law which will allow for the institutionalization of a levy that would aid Collections Management Organizations (CMO) to maximize of royalties from music usage in Ghana. “We are not sleeping. Through Government, we are changing the law. Now, it’s gone through first phase, second phase, third phase, and we are adding all smart phones, ipads, extended hard drives, decoders, etc.; In fact, the items are many. And, I know that when this legal instrument is passed, it is going to raise the levy to another level”, he said.

In the end, Rex Omar called for all hands to be on deck as the journey to securing the levy continues. “It’s not going to be easy, as it (the appeal document) is yet to go to Parliament. And, when it does, we have to be prepared, as people will ‘fight’ it because nobody wants to pay. And, these are the areas which when they start the ‘fight’, we must face them in Parliament. This should not be only Rex Omar, but all of us because, that’s where our bread and butter will come from”, he said.

By Jerry Wonder

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