No budget yet for festival

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PS for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Andrew Nihopara.
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By Georgina Kekea

THIS year Solomon Islands will be having a number of activities and events but still lacks the budget for them.

Come July 2018, the country will be hosting the Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFest).

However as the date looms closer, there is still no set plan for the event; only tentative plans and an estimated budget which is expected to be cut or increased, depending on what government decides after parliament meets in March.

Island Sun understands that a committee to oversee preparations for MACFest is already in place but will not be able to carry out their tasks without a set budget.

Currently construction work is being carried out at the National Art Gallery where main festival activities will take place but without financial support or payments from the national government as yet for the construction company.

In all this, in a report issued last month by Island Cultural Archive Support (ICAS), it said that MACFest committee led by Permanent Secretary of Tourism and Culture, Andrew Nihopara says they will ensure work at the national art gallery will complete in time.

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“The main cultural venue is the National Art Gallery. Work is progressing now. We are working to ensure that all work will be done a month before the event,” says Mr Nihopara.

Island Sun understands that unlike the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) in 2012, due to budgetary constraints, there won’t be any satellite venues.

Not to mention the fact that when parliament pass the budget, the MACFest committee will only have a three month time frame to full fill the tasks at hand.

MACFest was one of the resolutions of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) Ministers meeting held in Honiara last month. The festival will be in line with the country’s celebrations to mark 40 years of independence.

Solomon Islands will be expecting 2000 delegates to MACFest.

The theme for this year’s Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival is ‘Past recollection and future connections”.

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