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Players speak on school for the Arts

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Some players in the creative industry have bemoaned lack of government commitment towards funding the School for the Arts.

With the country having a few arts schools, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) and other players succeeded in persuading the government to fund the Integrated Arts Development Project which led to the establishment of the Arts Savings and Credit Cooperative (Arts Sacco), Arts Production and Marketing Cooperative (APMC) and commencement of the project to establish a School for the Arts.

The project was officially launched last year during Cosoma’s 25th anniversary.

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However, despite government’s commitment, little has been done to drive the establishment of the School for the Arts.

Film Association of Malawi (Fama) President Ezaius Mkandawire, said the project has been neglected.

“It’s sad that the project has not been given the necessary attention despite the government committing itself. There is no money for the project at the moment,” Mkandawire said.

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He said estimation for this year’s funding was sent to the government.

“Implementing institution (Cosoma) worked with the government in particular Ministry of Finance on this and the estimation for the project was K5 billion,” Mkandawire said.

He said, this year, the project was to get at least K1.6 billion.

“For the government, this is going to be a good thing. This would be the only school for the arts in the country. It is therefore worth reminding the government that the creative sector is a big player in the economy of the country,” the Fama president said.

Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, said it is unfortunate that the government has allocated nothing to the School for the Arts.

“The creative industry and musicians have been deprived of support for a long time and this is one area where the government could have shown its passion for arts,” Mhango said.

He said they were hoping that the Minister of Civic Education, Community Development and Culture would help them on the issue.

“This is the time for the government not to change its plans. This project was announced in Parliament two years ago so there has to be that commitment to fund the project. We discussed with the minister on this issue and we hope things will work,” the Mum leader said.

Coordinator of the project, who is also Cosoma’s Senior Licensing Officer, Rosario Kamanga, said construction has not started.

“We just hope that some of the players in the creative sector, who are Members of Parliament, will remember to discuss it in the house,” Kamanga said.

He said the School for the Arts will be built within Cosoma complex and that the culture minister already laid a foundation stone.

“The government has not committed any funds to the project within the 2018/19 budget; so, nothing has happened yet and yet this is crucial,” Kamanga said.

He said the project is aimed at improving the artistic skills of creative persons.

Chiumia said recently that they would take up the issue, adding that the government is aware of several challenges the creative sector is facing.

She said the government, through her ministry, would continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders to ensure that the industry grows and flourishes for the betterment of the socio-economic development of the country.

Several players in the creative industry have bemoaned the lack of support from the government on several issues and that includes putting up structures to train artists most of whom rely on inborn talents.

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