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Minister speaks on Arts Council

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With the creative sector fed up with the delay in effecting the Arts Council, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi Tuesday assured that he was fighting tooth and nail for it to be on the ground.

Since the approval of the Cultural Policy, which also took ages to come into effect, the creative sector has been calling for establishing of the Arts Council which would let the sector get subvention from the government.

At the moment, associations rely heavily on donor support, which has also seen some of it phasing out—including the Cultural Support Scheme which was funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy.

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The process in effecting the Arts Council has seen consultations being held several times and there was even a time when Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) queried linking of arts and heritage and called for the two to be separated.

Usi said there is hope that Arts Council will see light at the end of the tunnel although he admitted that it has indeed delayed.

“The biggest problem I discovered in the whole process is the human factor. There is too much talking and so many consultations and that has seen things going back and forth,” the minister said.

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He added that human attitude has delayed the process and that the ball was left in the hands of the technocrats.

“I know where it is now and what has been done, what ought to be done and, so, we will inform artists on the progress and milestones made. What remains now is for the ministry to review it and, when satisfied, it will go to Cabinet for approval,” Usi said.

He said after Cabinet approval the Arts Council Bill will then go to Parliament.

“All processes will be done and we will work very hard to make sure that the process is done as fast as possible. I am one of the people who want the Arts Council to be on the ground and I understand the cries of my fellow artists,” the minister said.

Usi said an action-plan was there to clear the bill with various offices and that this include a follow up meeting with Mum and legal vetting by Ministry of Justice as well as the Cabinet committee on legal affairs.

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