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Artists Welfare Fund under scrutiny

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Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi said Thursday operations of the Artists Welfare Fund have been ‘suspended’ for now to pave the way for proper handling of the funds.

The Artists Welfare Fund was launched last year with a start-up capital worth K16 million from Malawi Gaming and Lotteries Board.

“I can confirm that we have for now stopped everything. It was not me as a minister who did this but rather we sat down as a ministry. There were a lot of anomalies and so the suspension is for us to agree on how funds should be handled,” Usi said.

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Acting Principal Secretary George Masinga said the minister is the one who requested for this fund when he observed that artists were struggling.

“A trust was put up but now we need to look into the issues of objectives, operations and also we need to look at how we need to assist these artists. Artists are in different categories and, so, we looked into all these issues. There is a need to assist in terms of reference and these have to be agreeable,” Masinga said.

Director of Arts Humphrey Mpondaminga could not comment on the issue, referring us to Board Chairperson of the Artists Welfare Fund.

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Board Chairperson Maureen Masamba said the board is yet to meet to set and approve guidelines for operations of the fund.

“Draft documents of the procedures and guidelines have been done and are now awaiting board discussion and approval,” Masamba said.

The government through Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife in collaboration with Malawi Gaming Board launched the Artists Welfare Fund with an aim of supporting arts and artists in the country.

Usi said during the launch that “Our artists have lacked necessary support during their most difficult moments”.

The minister promised to engage other c stakeholders to contribute towards the fund.

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