Curio vendors and artisans at the Lilongwe Post Office Complex have expressed gratitude for the new shelters that the Lilongwe City Council (LCC) is erecting in conjunction with the Malawi Gaming Board.
Chairperson for the vendors and artisans at the complex, Benson Phiri, described 2017 as the year of breakthrough considering how long they had waited for the shelters to be erected.
He said it had always been very difficult and embarrassing to talk the customers into buying the artifacts when it's raining as there were no shelters.
"For over thirty-five years we have been selling our merchandise in the open, vulnerable to rain and sun but we will now have shelters and this will also promote tourism in the country as our customers will comfortably be taking their time to appreciate our artifacts," explained Phiri.
According to LCC spokesperson, Tamara Chafunya, the shelters will cover the entire area where the vendors ply their business at the complex and the project will cost K185m.
Chafunya said the first phase of the project had been funded by the Malawi Gaming Board to the tune of K40m and that the Council was looking for other players to partner with to complete the project.
"We are doing this to complement the reforms that government introduced in various ministries, departments and agencies and we want to turn this complex into a one-stop centre where our curio vendors can do business comfortably," explained Chafunya.
She said other than boosting tourism in the country the Council would also be raising revenue from the daily market fees collected from the vendors and artisans.
The Lilongwe Post Office Complex is one of the biggest curio centres in Malawi and it is visited by a lot of tourists and visiting foreigners every day.
Artifacts at the complex include wooden game trophies, various sculptures, bags and wrap-around made from local cloths, among other things.