Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has challenged that Malawians will realize tangible benefits from their mineral deposits unless the government addresses legal and policy gaps existing in the mining sector.
CCJP) National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana observed that the current legal and policy frameworks work in favour of foreign investors thereby depriving citizens of their right to God-given natural resources.
Chibwana was speaking at Crossroads Hotel on Friday during the Agenda of CSOs Strategic Meeting to consolidate Human Rights Policy and Legal Gaps in Extractive in Malawi.
He stressed the need for the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Mining, to take a proactive approach in order to improve the country’s economic development.
“If we are viewing that mining sector could be an alternative source of revenue for the country, then various players in the industry need to take up their responsibilities head on,” Chibwana added.
He lamented that although the new Mines and Minerals Act was in place, it has no regulations to enforce its implementation.
He said the country adopted a decentralization policy, which needs to be incorporated into the mining sector so that communities should be empowered to safeguard their natural resources.
Chibwana added issues of human rights abuse are on the increase in some mines and there need to address them using the appropriate laws.
The coordinator pointed out that local miners are being subjected to low pay and are usually struggling to get paid in full and on time.
He said duty-bearers need to be engaged in order to improve the lives and working conditions of mining companies in the country.
Chibwana noted that players in the mining sector do not believe in promoting transparency and accountability particularly when it comes to the issues of licensing and awarding of contracts to miners.
The National Coordinator for Youth in Mining, Max Chikako, bemoans lack of involvement of the youth in the mining sector and this was fuelling unemployment rates in the country.
Chikako asked the government to engage the youth in the development of the sector, adding that the youth have the potential to move the industry in order to realize Malawi 2063.
Recently, the Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala assured civil society organizations that his ministry is working towards addressing the legal and policy frameworks that prevent Malawians from tapping from the mineral deposits.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :