“For decades, Malawi has lacked patriotism.”
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has announced that he is set to make major reforms in the mining sector, including setting up of a government-owned mining company.
In his special televised government policy national address at Mtunthama State Residence on Sunday, President Chakwera disclosed that the Malawi government plans to establish a Mining Regulatory Authority in order to reorganise the country’s mining industry.
Said President Chakwera: “In the June sitting of Parliament, my administration will present a Bill to establish a Mining Regulatory Authority.
“The Authority’s mandate will be to regulate the development, management, and utilization of our country’s mineral resources in line with sustainable development principles and practices.”
Chakwera said the Authority will execute its regulatory mandate by fulfilling a number of functions, which include receiving and processing mineral tenement applications, granting, withholding, suspending, and revoking mineral licenses, Monitoring and enforcing the compliance of licences with the provisions of both the new Mining Regulatory Act and the Mines and Minerals Act, including compliance with guidelines for protecting the environment in conjunction with the relevant authorities.
The Malawi leader said the mining Authority will also establish, update and maintain a web-based and publicly accessible mining register as well as organise and formalise the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining sub-sector to foster orderliness.
“Malawi is a mineral rich country. For decades, Malawi has lacked patriotism, leadership, discipline, organization and collaboration to blend the natural resources under its feet with the country’s human resources to create the developmental riches that will last and serve generations saying the era of economic mismanagement is over,” lamented Chakwera.
The president further said that with the help, cooperation and trust by all Malawians, Government will turn the country’s God-given natural resources into good roads, schools, hospitals, parks, sports facilities, bridges, universities, pavements, apartment blocks, hotels, and excellent services over the next two decades.
President Chakwera explained that mining has the potential to be a long-term game-changer for Malawi’s economy, saying for a long time, Malawi’s economy has depended largely on rain-fed agriculture with the mining sector contributing little to the country’s revenue, less than three percent.
Chakwera said it is important for Malawi as a nation to be the ones to determine the right thing to do and to do things right with their own mining sector saying failing to do so would result in a repeat of the negative exploitation past administrations allowed to happen at places like the Kayerekera Uranium mine in Karonga.
Chakwera said his administration’s top priority when he took office ten months ago was to bring order and sanity to the mining sector saying his last order of business was to establish the Ministry of Mining as a standalone Ministry that would formulate policies and regulates to organize the sector.
He said the Ministry of Mining has already engaged the Malawi Police Service on the best way the two institutions can work together in curbing illegal mining and smuggling of the country’s minerals.
“Government has established the National Mining Company, a State-owned enterprise that will promote the development of the mining sector and operationalization of the Central Banks’s function as a structured market for Malawi’s minerals, the Reserve Bank of Malawi has already started implementing my directive to start buying gold from artisanal miners as mandated by its Act of Parliament of 2018,’’said President Dr. Chakwera.
The President divulged that in the 2021/2022 financial year, his administration will fund the development of infrastructure and the deployment of experts critical to the management of the mining sector, saying this will complete the construction and equipping of a state-of-the-art laboratory complex at Area 4 in Lilongwe which is estimated to cost MK820 Million.
“I have instructed the Secretary to the President and Cabinet to work with the ministry of mining to expedite the recruitment of mining experts who are just idle,” president Chakwera.
The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy identifies mining as one of the sectors that could potentially generate economic growth for the country.
The contribution of the mining sector to the country’s GDP has grown from as low as 1 percent in 2001 to 10.8 percent by 2010 as a result of the Kayelekera Uranium Mine (Mines & Minerals Policy, 2013). Furthermore, the strategy projects that a well-managed mining sector could increase to at least 20 percent of the GDP by 2016. In 2011,
Malawi produced minerals worth MK 23.7 billion while exports amounted to MK 18.6 billion in 2011 and Uranium, which was produced by Paladin at its Kayelekera mine accounts for most of the production and exports.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :