The TASLAF Probono Support Facility for the Creative Arts

The TASLAF Probono Support Facility for the Creative Arts

TASLAF Advocates is a leading law firm in Uganda that provides blended legal and tax services to enterprises in Uganda. Our clients include the leading Impact Finance and Private Equity Funds, social enterprises, construction & manufacturing firms, Agricultural enterprises and the leading non-profit/NGO’s operating or looking to expand in East Africa. We are driven by a desire to create social impact and influence Africa’s entrepreneurial and social ecosystem through legal support.

TASLAF is a specialist, innovative and experienced team of qualified lawyers and consultants offering practical and value-driven solutions to organisations across Eastern Africa. TASLAF seamlessly combines international standards of ethics with practical local experience to provide the best solutions to our clients.

TASLAF has a proven track record in supporting the Uganda Entrepreneurship ecosystem through legal and tax support. With a long tradition of pro-bono support, TASLAF has over the years partnered with Trust Law at Thomson Reuters and with the Emerging Enterprises Program at Sidley Austin to support over 500 social enterprises with pro-bono legal services in the past five years.

PROJECT SUMMARY

The Project: The project will involve the provision of legal advisory, support and capacity building on legal and tax compliance issues to small and medium size entities primarily active in the arts space. Entities active in the performing arts, visual arts, orature and literary arts, or any other human activities of creative expression, storytelling and cultural participation. The project will focus on small and medium size entities whether formal or informal as well as associations or societies. Non-profit organisations supporting entities in the arts space are also eligible to receive support under this facility. Entities must be based in Uganda for them to be eligible to benefit from this facility but their activities may have cross border reach.

The Project will further involve close, consistent and specific legal and tax support to beneficiaries for a period of two years and renewable with the consent of both parties. The aim of this project is to formalise beneficiary entities, assist in the formation and regularisation of their corporate structure and the adoption of good business practices in order to promote growth, ensure

legal and tax compliance to enable them compete favourably in their respective markets.

The project will involve a creative balance of legal support and advise rendered side by side with impactful and tailor-made training programs to ensure self-reliance by the beneficiary entity on certain aspects of legal and regulatory compliance and best practice.

Implementing Entity: TASLAF Advocates will be responsible for the management and coordination of the project.

Project Lead: Stephen Tumwesigye

stumwesigye@taslafadvocates.com

+256 (0) 774 334 908

Project Duration: Twenty four (24) months

PART 1: THE ARTS INDUSTRY IN UGANDA

The arts industry includes all activities that principally apply human expression, creativity, knowledge and information. This is a broad definition, and it can be argued that virtually all human activities apply some expression, creativity, knowledge and information. Yet, in the arts industry (sometimes called the creative industry) both the knowledge, skill or talent and their application are products.

The Report on the Mapping of Culture and Creative Industries in Uganda (2015) contains the most up to date information on the arts industries in Uganda. According to the report, the arts industry in Uganda is characterised by largely small, informal, part time entities.

These are majorly individuals or informal associations or combinations. Only 48% of arts entities were registered according to a 2015 study, of which the majority of those (88%) were in the tourism industry. Further, 18 percent of individuals working in the industry that were sampled had received above secondary level of education. About 25 percent had secondary level of education while the majority (45%) had primary level education. 12% never had any formal schooling.

With regard to income, the report found that about 6 in every 10 institutions (59%) had gross revenues/incomes not exceeding US$ 5,000 and only 6% of institutions had gross revenues/incomes in excess of US$ 500,000. The majority of institutions and individuals (87% and 85% respectively) reported sales and performances as a major source of funding for their culture specific activities.

WHY THE ARTS

The arts are an important and indispensable sector in both society and the global economy. From a social perspective, the arts are the collective memory of the community; through different art forms, events are recorded and recalled and ideas are communicated and preserved. The arts are therefore important because, they are one of the means through which the whole of society communicates and collectively experiences live.

Further, from the economic perspective, the arts are, if properly harnessed, capable of spurring sustainable economic growth through increased production, trade and tourism. Tourism is one of Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earners and is responsible for 7%. However, the bulk of this tourism is leisure/recreational tourism.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit, with projections stating that Uganda would lose $1.6 Billion dollars.

In facilitating entities in the arts sector to become competitive both nationally and internationally, we can spur economic recovery but also diversify Uganda’s sources of income by creating a competitive and vibrant arts industry. The arts industry is one that can become a major revenue earner; The National Action Plan On Culture And Creative Industries Of Uganda 2015/16-2019/20 valued Uganda’s cultural exports of goods and services at $239 Million in 2015. The end product of this would be sustainable and significant human development for artists as well as social economic transformation at macro-economic level.

To achieve this, it is important to facilitate small, medium size or informal arts outfits to formalise, organise themselves and create art that will both resonate with our collective social consciousness but will also yield economic returns for these outfits.

This project aims at providing beneficiary entities with tailor made legal solutions and dedicated legal and tax assistance to formalise their businesses, adopt and apply organisational structure best practices, tap into available financing options and ultimately create a successful and impactful art enterprise.

VISION

We hope that this project

  • Will facilitate and support our creative to share their stories and preserve our culture, norms and rites.
  • Will strengthen communities by uniting them through art that expresses collective experiences and emotions.
  • Will encourage social cohesion by enabling artists from different social and ethnic backgrounds to collaborate and create art that has a cross cutting appeal.
  • Empower creatives to earn from their works and protect their intellectual property rights.
  • Facilitate creative to challenge single stories about Africa by using art to show diversity and tackle dominant narratives about Africa.
  • Encourage and facilitate creatives to document our history and social experiences in art that will transform time and geographical barriers.
  • Enable the increased production of art work to facilitate tourism.
  • Empower marginalised groups to create art and earn from it.
  • Support the Ugandan creative industry to compete effectively both on the continent and internationally.

COVID-19 AND THE ARTS

COVID-19 had and continues to have a very devastating impact on the Arts Industry. Measures taken by government to combat the spread of the disease have meant that there has been a halt in staging of shows, concerts, festivals and exhibitions. These activities were responsible for the bulk of artists’ income and without them, artists struggled to afford basic life essentials such as food.

However, some arts enterprises have successfully re-invented themselves. Comedy Store Uganda, a Ugandan comedy outfit partnered with Fezah, a digital airplay monitoring and artist booking platform, to transfer its shows online. Still, Comedy Store is an outlier and the bulk of artist are struggling. Therefore, decisive interventions must be taken now to enable recovery of the arts industry and transform it into a vibrant and competitive sector of the economy, thereby guaranteeing sustainable human development of Uganda’s arts.

WHY NOW?

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the disruptions caused by lockdowns and other measures provide an opportunity to plan, formalise, re-organise and re-launch arts enterprises. This for the foundational aspects of the formalisation and recovery interventions for beneficiary entities to be conceived and executed such that, when restrictions are eased, beneficiary entities are capable of “taking off” immediately.

Still, this period allows for the conception of ideas on alternative modes of operation such as leveraging technology to tap into the online audience and legal support to do achieve this is necessary. Arts entities need assistance with contracts, legal and tax advisory among other things to allow them sustainably exploit alternative modes of doing business.

WHAT ENTITIES QUALIFY TO BENEFIT FROM THIS FACILITY

As noted above, all small and medium size entities active in the performing arts, visual arts, orature and literary arts, or any other human activities of creative expression, storytelling and cultural participation are eligible to benefit from this facility. The project will focus on small and medium size entities whether formal or informal as well as associations or societies.

Non-profit organisations supporting entities in the arts space are also eligible to receive support under this facility.

However, the project will place special focus on the following entities

  1. Entities based in rural Uganda.
  2. Entities lead or employing a significant number of employees being from marginalised groups (such as women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities etc) are preferred.
  3. Informal or semi-formal entities.
  4. Entities whose work has or is capable of having a significant social impact in their communities.
  5. Entities using technology or innovative ideas and processes in their operations.
  6. Entities in the conservatory arts space.
  7. Entities operating in the non-tangible arts space (folkore, customs, traditions etc)

Note: It is not necessary that the entity fit in any or all the above categories. If the entity is active in the creative arts space, or is a non-profit organisation assisting entities in the creative arts space and is based in Uganda, it is eligible to benefit from this facility.

PART 2: INDICATIVE SCOPE OF WORK

Legal Advisory Services

  1. Review and advice on the legal status of the business with the appropriate offices;
  2. Review of contracts, agreements and other legaldocuments upon request by the business;
  3. Review of standard employment agreements, including work contracts for foreign nationals, their terms and conditions and advise on compliance with Ugandan law;
  4. For non-profit beneficiaries, assist (where applicable) in introducing a social enterprise practice to their operations;
  5. Providing legal and advisory opinions and or guidance on matters, which the business may raise from time to time during the 24 months;

Company Secretarial services

  1. Drafting and registration of resolutions;
  2. Registering changes in the directorship and signing on financial statements and other legal documents as Company Secretary;
  3. Providing Audit confirmation letters for the business;
  4. Calling for board meetings and preparing minutesfor such meetings for filing with the Registrar of Companies and record keeping with the business;
  5. Filling annual returns with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau and the Company’s registryas may be applicable.

THE TRAINING CONTENT

As noted above, the project will include regular and tailor made training programs. Our training content is designed to remedy the standard internal and external legal challenges faced by beneficiary entities. Prior to commencement, TASLAF will review the business profiles of each of the beneficiaries to understand their businesses and ascertain the training content as regards their specific sectors.

Tax Advisory Services
  1. Assess and review the business tax registration with the Uganda Revenue Authority;
  2. Provide guidance on the business rights and obligations under the tax laws, including tax compliance requirements, return filing and tax payments and objections;
  3. Assist the business in handling the National Social Security Fund(NSSF) Audit,
  4. Offer on a need to know basis, general and specific guidance on tax matters regarding Value Added Tax, Individual Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Withholding Taxes, Customs Duties and Excise levies; and,
  5. Liaise with the tax administration on behalf of the business in pursuit of guidance on general tax matters and any other matters that the URA may raise regarding the business’s tax position.
  6. Assist the business in filing tax returns;
Project Sustainability

The project envisions support both formal and informal entities. For informal entities, the project is designed to offer specialist support from formalisation towards the establishment of a sustainable and competitive entity complying with legal and regulatory rules and applying industry best practices.

For already formalised entities, the project focuses on offering specialist support on legal and regulatory compliance to ensure sustainability and competitiveness.

PART 3: OUR PROBONO EXPERIENCE

Our SME Project

This project entails providing close and consistent legal support on two mutually influencing fronts: legal services to raise the management standards and practices of small and growing businesses (SGBs) and advocacy for legal reform for a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs. The overarching objective of this project is to assist SGBs formalise so they have a fair opportunity to access finance as well as compete favourably and grow in their respective foreign and domestic markets.

Our SME Partnerships

TASLAF’s Social Enterprise work has long focused on small businesses and start-ups, particularly those seeking social impact. TASLAF has conducted myriad entrepreneurial projects with partners such as; Sidley Austin and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

TASLAF has also executed structured training and workshops on the legal and regulatory landscape for SGBs in Uganda. TASLAF has been a crucial contributor to workshops organised and conducted in partnership with;

  1. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
  2. Open Capital Advisors (OCA),
  3. Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE),
  4. Oxfam International;
  5. Capital Solutions Limited; and
  6. Yunus Social Business Global Initiatives

TASLAF is currently establishing further Partnerships with;

  1. Uganda Green Enterprise Finance Accelerator (UGEFA)
  2. Growth Africa
  3. Innovation Village
  4. Design Hub
  5. Challenges Uganda

Further; TASLAF recently provided support to Water For People Uganda on its pilot project on strengthening faecal sludge management services in Uganda. We trained and supported the formation, registration and licensing process of 12 newly formed pit emptying businesses that were identified and in Kole Town, Pallisa Town and Nansana Municipality.

TASLAF has in addition entered MOUs with business incubators and accelerators to prop up entrepreneurship and SGBs such as, the Fast Track Accelerator Program with the SINAPIS Group and the Investor Readiness Program with the BiD network.

Legal Training for GIZ Partners (TASLAF Advocates & GIZ Creating Perspectives Business for Development – East Africa)

The training held on the 22nd and 23rd October 2020 was organised and conducted by TASLAF Advocates for GIZ partner SMEs under the Creating Perspectives.

Business for Development program. The two-day training, taking into account challenges occasioned by the global Covid-19 pandemic, focused on addressing standard internal and external legal and tax challenges for Ugandan SMEs in the manufacturing sector. Over 10 SMEs were selected to participate in the training which subsequently led to the receipt of requests from Six (6) export-oriented enterprises for close legal coaching specifically to enable them venture into the regional and international markets.

Our Pro Bono Recovery & Resilience Legal Support Program to Enterprises During Covid-19 TASLAF in June 2020 launched its Pro Bono Recovery and Resilience Program aimed at assisting and supporting SMEs through the effects of COVID-19 to enable business recovery. The program entails providing legal support to enable business continuity through building business resilience. The support provided under the program is in three ways;

  1. Business Restructuring – Improvement of SME business management and compliance
  2. One-on-one Legal Advisory
  3. Support Access to Finance

COSTS

The assignment will be conducted at no cost. However, any disbursements that may arise in the course of work will be covered by the beneficiary.

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TASLAF Advocates is the pioneer provider of specialist practice services in Uganda. Our core practice department, all offer targeted all-round wholesome legal services to entities in oil and gas, energy, natural resources, construction and infrastructure.

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