Mbabane – As the all ministries are busy compiling their wish lists which they want to form part of the National Budget which would be delivered by Finance Minister Neal Rikenberg before the end of February, Swaziland Association of Music Artists (SWAMA) President, who is also Endzingeni Member of Parliament, Lutfo Dlamini said the association is looking forward to a favorable budget allocation for the arts sector considering that the sector has been closed for almost a year now.
Dlamini said that it was heir prayer that government consider to improve the budget since there has been no income for artists ever since the of lockdown soon after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dlamini lamented that the arts sector has been closed from the beginning of lockdown and up to today, artists have no income. Dlamini said that has been happening despite government’s promise that artists will get an incentive for loss of income.
On another note, Dlamini expressed his disappointment at the Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC) for not including them in budget planning for the financial year 2021.
The association president said as an association, they were very much disappointed because they were never consulted on the budget planning for the financial year 2021.
Dlamini said procedurally, they were supposed to be consulted so that they can voice out and share their views in making financial proposals for the upcoming year.
“We were never consulted hence we do not even know how much has been budgeted for all the affiliates of arts and culture. Now that it is time for national budget, we however pray that the outcome be favorable, considering that the arts sector has been shut down for quite a long time.
Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture CEO Stanley Dlamini in an earlier interview said they always consult all stakeholders and affiliates before submitting a proposed budget to government.
In the financial year 2020/21 ENCAC was reported to have requested about E5 million for the council to fulfil its obligations, but it was only allocated E3.9 million, which was announced by the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg when announcing the national budget speech.