HARARE – The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) expenditure took up 53 percent of cash collected last year, leaving 47 percent to royalty payments.
This has raised a stink with musicians, who feel that the association is using too much of the funds which are supposed to go towards royalties.
Out of $761 801 collected for 2015, $498 700 went towards expenditure, with administrative expenses costing $253 960.
Zimura’s licensing manager Henry Makombe however, said the expenditure was inevitable.
“Under normal circumstances, we should be directing 30 percent towards administrative costs, with 70 percent going towards royalties.
“This would be possible if the broadcasters were able to pay, but they are citing the same economic challenges. If they were paying up, it would be 10 percent going towards administrative costs,” he said.
The licensing department has 18 inspectors (three contracts and 15 full-time) and these carry out licensing activities countrywide.
“With licensing, you cannot just call people to pay and they do. We constantly have to go to their premises and ask them to pay. You find that you visit one person 15 times in order for them to pay up.
“The expenses include the phone calls, vehicles used, charges for the police licensing inspectorate and others. Most of the times people do not pay up, citing economic challenges, so we still chuck out money in follow-ups.
“We are now allowing part payments and some of them stretch up to a year.
“We have offices countrywide but we do not have vehicles there. There is transport, car hire, for raids in those areas.
“At one point, we had to close our Bindura office and we are operating with the Marondera office for Mashonaland East,” said Makombe.
A musician who declined to be named said Zimura should focus more on artistes’ welfare than lining their pockets.
“The money that they use is ours. We end up getting peanuts yet they spend a lot of money on ‘expenditures’. Artistes are suffering and all our work seems not to be paying off.
“We expect royalties to cushion us and we must not work like slaves, especially on the weekly shows that we do,” said the musician.
Zimura will start royalty disbursements for 2015 tomorrow.