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Arts Sacco offers hope to artists

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The coming of the Arts Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) is improving the lives of many artists as well as helping expand their base, its Chairperson Sambalikagwa Mvona has said.

Mvona, who is Malawi Writers Union of Malawi (Mawu) President, said many artists are now joining the Arts Sacco having seen its importance.

“The Arts Sacco is growing fast and many artists are now being assisted. Many are realising the importance of being part of the Arts Sacco where among others they can access loans for instance recording their albums,” Mvona said.

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He said at the moment they have opened an office in the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) Building in Lilongwe and that they have employed a manager.

“We started giving out loans in November last year and to-date we have given out loans to more than 60 artists, most of them in excess of K500, 000,” Mvona said.

He said so far, there were no defaulters and that they are growing.

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“Our assets so far are in excess of K28 million. Right now we are moving to choir groups in churches to enable them join the facility and acquire loans for their church requirements such as minibuses, organs, uniforms as well as production of CDs and DVDs,” Mvona said.

Mvona said artists have been struggling with funds to work on their different projects and that it was now time for them to utilise loans offered through the Arts Sacco.

He also said that the Annual General Meeting of the Arts Sacco is slated for end this year.

“Our gear now is for the growth of the Arts Sacco and this is targeting all the artists in all the arts associations and our aim is to reach out to all artists in the country,” Mvona said.

The Arts Sacco is part of the Integrated Arts Development project.

The government provided funding of K150 million in the 2015/2016 budget for the implementation of the Integrated Arts Development project following a funding request submitted to the Ministry of Finance by the creative industry.

By June 2016, the total funds disbursed to the project amounted to over K93 million.

According to a recent report from Cosoma Board Chairperson Charles Sinetre, so far over K59 million has been spent on the four project components namely Arts Sacco, Production and Marketing Cooperative, facilitation of the enactment of the National Arts and Heritage Council Bill and establishment of the School for the Arts.

It reports further indicates that the 2016/2017 national budget has made an allocation of K120million to the Integrated Arts Development project.

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