MATABELELAND NORTH province has recorded the highest number of requests with 681 applications for the $10 million COVID-19 Artists Relief Fund ahead of the country’s other nine provinces at the close of the July 31 submission deadline.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Government launched the Artists Relief Fund on July 10 to provide relief to registered arts associations, organisations, groups, production houses (theatre, dance, film, music studios), registered galleries, arts and educational institutions and individual artists demonstrating the effect of COVID-19 on their practice.
The Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation on Monday confirmed in a statement that a total of 2 899 applications were received from across the country.
Of the 2 899 applications, Matabeleland North had 681, followed by Harare (486), Midlands (469), Masvingo (279), Manicaland (260), Bulawayo (224), Mashonaland East (144), Mashonaland Central (140) and Mashonaland West (123).
The ministry said the processing of the applications was all done at provincial level, adding that they were now activating the actual disbursements of the funds to the intended beneficiaries in their preferred accounts.
“The ministry and its agencies (National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe) are now in the final stages of concluding the processes which entailed receiving and documenting applications, convening provincial selection committee meetings and compiling lists of those applications recommended for approval to start receiving the relief funds, and those not recommended so that we understand the reasons for rejection and craft intervention measures were necessary,” read part of the statement.
While there has been an outcry by artists over the delays in the payment of the funds, the ministry said the disbursement will begin shortly.
“Please be advised that the disbursement of the funds will begin shortly in the order of what was received first no matter the quantity adding that they will continue reviewing applications.”