Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Moses Kunkuyu has said it is his wish to see the Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) open before the May 20 tripartite elections to cut costs of hiring venues for artists.
Kunkuyu said this two months after his order to have BCC partially opened hit a snag due to lack of funding.
Days after his appointment to head the ministry, Kunkuyu visited the premises together with officials from the museum, who have been taking care of the structure, and he advised them to open the centre by December 10, 2013 and commence partial renovations while the place was being used.
The Nation observed that no work is taking place at the BCC and when contacted, the minister said the facility needs about K5million for rehabilitation which he said was not available, hence the delay.
The minister said he is optimistic that the money will be sourced and rehabilitation work will start soon.
“Artists really need the BCC. We have got complaints from musicians and we know some of them are failing to have shows because of costs of private halls. In order to encourage them to perform live, we need to lower the charges for venue hiring and this can only be achieved if we bring in competition. I will be very happy to see artists using the BCC before the elections,” he said.
Kunkuyu admitted that the country has not done well in constructing public performance venues.
“I believe if we manage to have the BCC operational, it will uplift the arts field. In the future we need to have places such as BCC in all the regions,” said Kunkuyu, stressing that the arts is always among the priorities for government.
He added that the contractors to supply materials for rehabilitation were identified, but are not committed to supply the materials because they are yet to be paid.
BCC has been in a dilapidated state since it was purchased from the French government in 2010.