President Peter Mutharika Tuesday offered hope to the creative industry in the country announcing that in the 2015/2016 fiscal year the government will establish the National Arts and Heritage Council of Malawi.
Mutharika made the announcement during the state of the nation address on the occasion of the state opening of the 4th meeting in the 45th session of Parliament and the 2015/2016 budget meeting.
"Mr Speaker, Sir, in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, government intends to enhance the sector's regulatory and policy environment by reviewing the Tourism policy and the wildlife legislation to protect wildlife. Government will also establish the National Arts and Heritage Council of Malawi and a Cultural Trust Fund," said the President.
He said this will promote cultural heritage preservation and fund cultural activities respectively.
Mutharika also said earlier in his speech that in the 2014/2015 fiscal financial year, some of the achievements made in the tourism, wildlife and culture include the approval of the National Culture Policy which effectively promotes the country's cultural heritage "Government will continue to address the structural challenges faced by the tourism, wildlife and culture sector through implementation of various policy reforms and strategies," he said.
Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam) President Alfred Msadala welcomed the move made by the government.
He however, said that the biggest move the government made was the approval of the Cultural Policy.
"We commend the government for the approval of the Cultural Policy because this has been long overdue. But now after the Cultural Policy what next? This is where we are now talking about the National Arts and Heritage Council," said Msadala.
Artists have been crying for the Cultural Policy for years but it has finally been approved by the cabinet.
Last week musician Eric Trinta called on the private sector to help the government drive the policy which will be launched on May 21 in Lilongwe.
He said the Cultural Policy was not only important to the artists but rather the whole country as it will lead to the promotion of several actors.
The Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture said recently that it will launch the Cultural Policy on May 21 to bring awareness to the people.
The launch falls on this day as the government says it is taking advantage of the 10th anniversary of the 2005 Unesco Convention. This is the International Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
According to the Cultural Policy, a National Arts and Heritage Council (NAHeC) will be established by an Act of Parliament to develop and promote Malawi's cultural and creative industries.
Once established, NAHeC will be the operational arm of the policy responsible for programming and coordination of some key stakeholders particularly non state actors.
With several arts associations in the country operating without funding, it means with NAHeC they will now be receiving subvention.
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