National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) Bill is at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for vetting, Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development spokesperson, Ashraf Banda, said yesterday.
The development comes following an outcry from creative industry players ,such as musician Eric Trinta, who have bemoaned delays to take the bill to Parliament.
Trinta said the absence of requisite laws is negatively affecting players in the creative industry.
The Nahec Bill came into effect following the passing of the Cultural Policy, which the creative industry had been lobbying for for years.
But Banda said yesterday that the ministry is doing its best to push for the bill.
He, however, hinted that there would be a challenge following a complaint from Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum), which is not comfortable with the issue of combining arts and heritage.
“Mum complained about Nahec, saying they were not fully consulted. But consultations, which were expensive enough, were made so this is an issue at present,” Banda said.
He said the current bill has a provision for one council but Mum is suggesting the creation of two councils— one for arts and another for heritage.
“So, the Nahec Bill is at the Ministry of Justice for vetting but we are also consulting, especially on the complaint presented by Mum. So, we will see how to go about it,” he said.
Mum President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, had an audience with Culture Minister Grace Chiumia on the Nahec issue.
“We, as artists, want the Arts Council to be on its own and not with heritage. We have been sidelined for a long time,” Mhango said.
Trinta, who owns Nyamithambo Arts Palace in Lilongwe and Nsanje, said the creative industry can be an engine for development.
“The heartbeat of Malawi is the creative industry and this is the one which can help in wealth creation, especially for those who are not employed, but the country is not managing it well,” Trinta said.
He said Nahec Bill could have been at an advanced stage by now.
“The Cultural Policy was passed longtime ago before the Nahec Bill was developed but we are taking time to implement things. We need to move out of delaying things,” he said.
Trinta said the country can only move forward if the creative industry is vibrant.
“In Nigeria, the creative industry is at the hub of the economy because of platforms such as Nollywood and the same applies to the United States, where Hollywood has done well. Things only work when you have the structures,” he said.
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