Closure of Night Clubs unfavorable but necessary’
Continuing closure of nightclubs is not intented to destabilize their businesses, but rather a measure to contain Covid-19 spread in the country, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Investment (MITI) says.
Responding to complaints of negligence by discotheques/nightclub owners, Permanent Secretary at MITI, Kganele Malikongwa said they are aware that the situation is unfavorable to nightclub owners, but extremely necessary under the prevailing circumstances.
Malikongwa said the ministry has met with the night club owners to discuss challenges faced due to closure of their businesses and proposals were made to consider assistance regarding payment of licence renewal fees and accrued penalties thereof. “The ministry has commenced consultation on the proposal and has since approved the exemption of discotheques/nightclub owners from these fees, “she said.
Discotheque/nightclub licence holders have been exempted from payment of these fees for a period of two years; April 2020 to March 2022, to alleviate them of the financial burden they are carrying as a result of the closure.
Commenting on the question of numbers, as night club owners had hoped that like other sectors, they too could be allowed to operate with limited numbers of people, Malikongwa said the issue of numbers do not affect nightclubs only but that every sector is addressed in the manner in which it operates. “We cannot compare a bus and a club, where people drink and dance, whilst in a bus everyone is seated and wearing a mask for the duration of the journey,” she added. Equally, she said, the set up of a church on any other gathering is different from that of a night club and can be easily managed, contrary to the latter where people dance and move about simultaneously consuming alcohol.
Spokesperson for COSBOTS, Seeletso Lekgaba, said the creative industry as a whole has undoubtedly been dealt a heavy blow by the effects of the advent of COVID – 19; these inclusive of live performances by artists and the traditional retail channels through which artists sell their music. These businesses remain affected to this day. “With cancelled exhibitions, entertainment events, live performances many artists are feeling the strain due to the lack of economic activity that has resulted in lost income and an uncertain future whose resultant domino effect is a marked increase in social unrest. From the organization’s viewpoint, more users of musical works have begun to feel the impact of the economic downturn, a direct translate into less revenue for COSBOTS which in turn affects future distributions for our members,” she said. Lekgaba also said as a result of these effects, management is in discussion with users for payment plans that will not have adverse effects of business.
Improving systems, processes
Over the last year, COSBOTS embarked on an initiative to introduce several various technologies to help modernize its operations and increase their efficiency. “The first of such initiative was the implementation of the Music Monitoring System called VERICAST from (BMAT), which uses finger printing technology. This is a world-class monitoring service that has helped the company to improve matching and linking processes, to improve the quality and value of distributions,”Lekagaba explained According to Lekagaba, COSBOTS can monitor all six local radio stations and the Television station operated by the Public broadcaster in real time.
Moreover, several other measures have been implemented by COSBOTS to ensure business continuity by means of equipping their staff to enable them to carry out most of their day-to-day core assignments. “It is our ardent hope that in the foreseeable future, the industry in Botswana can adapt to the new normal, and the world continue to enjoy entertainment from the local genre. This will in turn assist artists to recover from hardships caused by the effects of the Corona Virus,”she mentioned.