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Arts Council Bill taskforce meets parley committee

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Max DC

As the creative industry continues to lobby for the enactment of the National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) Bill, which will lead to the establishment of Nahec, its taskforce on Monday engaged the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs in Lilongwe.

Malawi Union of Academic and Non-Fiction Authors (Muana) President Ron Muphuwa, described the meeting as fruitful and that they managed to lobby the legislators to support the bill when it comes to Parliament.

“Nahec taskforce committee highlighted to the honourable committee members the missed opportunities that Malawi as a country is experiencing due to lack of Nahec,” Muphuwa said.

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He said they were happy that the members of the social and community affairs committee understood the initiative and promised to engage them further to understand “how well they can play their roles in order to have the bill presented in Parliament”.

“It is anticipated that further meetings will be arranged with various stakeholders to sensitise them on both the Malawi Cultural Policy and National Arts and Heritage Council Bill,” Muphuwa said.

National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president Maxwell Chiphinga widely known as Max DC, who is also the chairperson of the taskforce, said they have embarked on the last mile to the tabling of Nahec Bill.

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“We are working towards the February session. They did not actually indicate because the Parley committee was hearing from us and our aspirations. We told them we really needed it tabled in November, but since the bill is still at Ministry of Justice, they indicated that we have missed the November session but together we will strive for the February session,” Chiphinga said.

He commended the Parliamentary committee for granting them an audience.

“Their meeting with us shows that they are willing to work with us and help us achieve the goal by engaging with all relevant ministries,” Chiphinga said.

Nahec taskforce’s meeting with the parley committee also follows two petitions that creatives presented to Parliament late last year and early this year.

In August this year, the taskforce also held a fundraising show in Blantyre which was aimed at raising awareness on Nahec Bill.

In its letter dated October 19 2022, Parliament says the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs engaged the taskforce to consider various issues under its mandate as well as to be briefed on the petition on Nahec Bill.

In another development, the two-day national conference on arts and culture ended yesterday in Lilongwe.

The conference, which was opened by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi run under the theme ‘Leveraging Arts, Culture and Heritage for Sustainable Development’.

Muphuwa said the conference was timely for the growth of the industry and that it made stakeholders question whether they are were doing enough to ensure that the potential of the creative and cultural industry contributes to the national Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and whether what is being currently done will translate into meeting the Malawi Agenda 2063.

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