Wednesday, 25 December 2013

21st Sitting of the Culture and Information Committee

At the sitting held on 25 December, the Culture and Information Committee discussed the forced debt collection of contributions for pension and disability insurance and health insurance from independent artists.

The President of the National Council for Culture, Dusko Paunkovic informed the Committee members that since the Culture Secretariat of the City of Belgrade is late with the payments for these contributions, independent artists, who are considered independent tax payers, are charged for both the debt and interest accrued.
The issue was also discussed at the meeting of the Working Group set up by the Culture and Information Committee at its 17th sitting on 25 November, and the representatives of the Coordinating Body of representative artists’ associations who also took part in the sitting.
Tax Administration representative Rada Kostic said that the root of the problem is the discrepancy between the Law on Culture and Law on Contributions and one possible solution may be to write off the independent artists’ debt, which lies in the purview of the Government.
The Committee members deemed it imperative to urgently resolve the status of independent artists in Serbia, almost 90% of which are registered in Belgrade, also complaining that no representative of the Ministry of Culture and Media attended the sitting.
After the discussion the Committee adopted the following conclusions:
1) The Committee asks the Government to adopt the conclusion to halt the forced collection from independent artists;
2) The Committee asks the relevant state authorities and local self-government bodies to take part in the public hearing to be held at the beginning of next year to address the legislation regulating the status of independent artists;
3) The Committee appeals to local self-governments to fulfil the obligation they have assumed in a timely manner.
The Committee went on to decide to hold two public hearings in the period January-June 2014 to discuss the status of independent artists and the new advertising law.

The Committee also decided to send a recommendation to the Ministry of Culture and Media for the establishment of clear criteria for the renting of national culture institutions which should conform to said institutions’ basic purpose.

The sitting was chaired by Vesna Marjanovic, Committee Chairperson.

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