It is funny how, sometimes, Malawians or officials treat development. When there are no resources to undertake a particular project, they are quick to accuse government of delaying development, but when the funds are available they even fail to justify the delay to start implementing developmental works.
This can be said of the current situation of Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) whose portion of funding for renovations were allocated yet no progress can be traced at the centre. This development is irking artists who feel cheated.
According to Christopher Mbukwa, who is the spokesperson of the Ministry of Sports and Culture, an allocation of K75 million was made towards renovation of BCC in the 2015/16 financial year.
Overall, government has put BCC in its Public Sector Investment Plan, a prioritised plan of development projects which government and development partners have committed to fund for a specific duration.
It is estimated that the BCC project will cost K350 million for the period of two and half years.
Said Mbukwa: “So far, an assessment to establish the condition of the centre was conducted which basically gave a picture of the extent of damage of the facilities of BCC. We established the bills of quantities and estimated the associated cost of materials.
“Requests for quotations have since been sourced and approved for electrical installations, plumbing, carpentry, painting and roof waterproofing works from small building and electrical contractors. The selected contractor will soon start the works.”
But when asked that it is now three months into 2016 and nothing is materialising on the BCC, Mbukwa asked for some time to cross-check with officials at the department of culture and only to return with the news that the contractor has been paid last week.
“We released the funds to the department of culture and I have been told that the Ben Building has been paid last week meaning the work will start anytime,” said Mbukwa.
A visit to BCC at the weekend morning by The Nation crew indicates the areas of electrical installations, plumbing, carpentry; painting and roof waterproofing which were earmarked for the for maintenance early this year are still in a mess.