Treating Harare audiences to acts from around the world can be a bit of an obstacle course filled with bureaucracy and frustration. The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) encourages promoters to follow the required procedures when bringing foreign artists into the country.
This follows outcries by various stakeholders who have had their artists barred from performing here in the past year. Harare News caught up with NACZ director Elvas Mari to reveal to our readers the hoops promoters have to jump through to bring global performers to our stages…
Can you explain the process of bringing in international artists for performances in the country?
The promoter should apply to NACZ eight weeks prior to the event, notifying us of their intention to hold a show in Zimbabwe. In the application, the promoter must bring a tax clearance certificate from ZIMRA showing that their company is compliant with Zimbabwe’s tax laws. The application should show the venue, date, times, tickets price and contracts with all the artists including local participants.
Are artists or performers required to pay anything?
In respect of foreign artists, the promoter will pay a statutory NACZ clearance fee equivalent to 5% of the gate taking for the show. NACZ also insists on the show having at least three local performing groups as well. After the payment of NACZ clearance fees, the promoter gets a clearance letter to ZIMRA that enables the promoter to pay 15% withholding income tax on behalf of the foreign artist/s based on the contract fees. The payment of withholding tax will allow the promoter to get an Employment Temporary Permit (ETP) from the Department of Immigration after paying requisite fees. The promoter will also be required to pay a Board of Censors certificate at the rate of $30 per hour of performance.
Do these artists have to apply for a special performance visa or permit?
The artist only applies for a visa after the promoter has been given a work permit to employ the artist/s. The permit is given after satisfying ZIMRA on tax issues, the Board of Censors on censorship issues and NACZ on performance preparation issues. There is no special performance visa that is applied for but instead a work permit. The visas and work permits are issued by the Department of Immigration and the artists can get the visa before or at the point of entry depending on the country they comes from.
How do you classify the type of artist?
There is no classification of artists in Zimbabwe. The decision to use or not use a particular artist rests with the promoter or the person seeking the service of the artists, local or foreign. In addition, the fees that an artist gets is agreed between the artists and the promoter or the one seeking the service of the artist. Please note that NACZ does not deal with the international artist but deals with a registered promoter according to the NACZ Act.
Is there a limit on the number of international performers per year?
No, there is no limit of international performers per year. The promoter can hold as many shows as s/he likes per year as long as he fulfills the requirements for holding these shows. On the other hand a foreign artists can be allowed to perform in Zimbabwe as many times as he wants as long as he get work permits through the promoter.
Are the requirements for holding an event with international artists the same as that with locals?
Definitely no! They are always different regulations governing the dealings for local services and those for foreign services.
Picture: Elvas Mari, director of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, NACZ