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Tourism, Culture Ministry bemoans poor budget

Blantyre Cultural Centre renovation to be priotised

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Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife says it received funding of K574 million in the 2022-23 budget for both other recurrent transactions and development budgets, which is not enough.

The ministry’s spokesperson Symon Mbvundula bemoaned the low budget, saying this is not enough because about 70 percent is for the projects, one of which being completion of Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC).

Renovations at BCC have been moving at a snail’s pace for 11 years now since the government bought the place from the French before it was ransacked.

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“The delays in renovations at BCC are also a serious concern for us as a ministry. For this year, we were set to do the amphitheatre, the old managers’ house and the perimeter fence. For the amphitheatre, commencement of the works has delayed because of procurement processes,” he said.

Mbvundula said they were still working with relevant authorities to conclude this so that rehabilitation works can start.

“As for rehabilitation of the old manager’s house and perimeter fence, there has been contractual issues between the contractor and the ministry, and we are doing all we can to resolve the issues so that we can make progress on this section,” he said.

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Mbvundula further said that the Malawi 2063 vision looks at the arts and creative industries as one of the potential sectors for job creation, economic empowerment for artists and a driver for the tourism industry.

“Our plan was to aggressively market the arts for the export market. We want to leverage on the power of digital platforms to promote and market Malawian arts, but this needs substantive investment,” he said.

Mbvundula said they want to promote Malawian arts at international events, and support arts exchange programmes with other countries.

“We may not be able to deliver on some of these key issues and we will try to get support from development partners like we are doing with the SICICP project with Unesco,” he said.

Mbvundula said, within this limited budget, they will priotise and focus on completion of BCC project, resource mobilisation initiatives for the sector and training programmes on basic creative skills for the youth.

“We believe the youth should be groomed in basic creative skills at an early age as they are the future of the creative industries,” he said.

Mbvundula said their plans for 2022-23 was to conclude all the works and that they wanted some of the spaces to be functional by July or August this year.

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