Michael Usi highlights arts steps in Parliament
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi on Monday delivered his ministerial statement in Parliament on the strategic policy direction for the ministry and its achievements. It also included highlights in the creative sector.
His statement in the august house comes barely a month after the creative sector petitioned Parliament for the second time to lobby for the enactment of the National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) Bill.
Usi told Parliament that the country has over 20,000 active artists, artisans, and practitioners and that their work and services was making a significant contribution towards job creation, tourism and upholding of virtues of national cultural identity.
The minister, who is also a renowned artist, revealed that his ministry had reviewed and submitted five bills to the Ministry of Justice which will assist to improve the creative industry and heritage landscape The bills include Nahec Bill, Classification of Entertainment and Publications Bill, Arts and Creative Industries Bill, Museums and Heritage Bill and National Records and Archives Bill.
“My ministry is pursuing the agenda of transforming Malawi into a preferred tourist destination with well-conserved wildlife resources and unique cultural heritage. To this end, my ministry is implementing several initiatives aimed at developing and promoting tourism, conserving wildlife, and preserving culture for the socio-economic growth and development of the country,” he said.
Usi said his ministry was also looking to develop the heritage and artistic events guidelines to regulate the quality and standards of heritage and artistic events.
He said his ministry had facilitated development of procedures for the establishment of a Copyright Fund aimed at supporting civic education and enforcement of the Copyright Law.
Despite the ministry making strides in propelling the creative sector, creatives still feel the industry is sidelined and given little attention.
“We are already aware of the five bills being at the Ministry of Justice but they are long overdue. This is why we recently petitioned Parliament because we have not seen any progress. At the moment we have penned Ministry of Justice to find out the level at which Nahec Bill is,” Nahec taskforce chairperson Maxwell Chiphinga said Tuesday.
Usi has maintained that his ministry is committed to uplift the creative sector in the country’ adding that they were also looking at developing cultural tourism.
He said they also launched a three-year project on Strengthening Institutional Capacities in implementing the Malawi Cultural Policy to enhance implementation of the Malawi Cultural Policy in line with the 2005 Unesco Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.