President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and leader of opposition in Parliament, Lazarus Chakwera has said he will push for the passing of the revised mines and minerals Bill in the next sitting of Parliament.
Chakwera speaking in the Northern Region during his whistle -stop meetings that there is mismanagement in the mining sector breeding corruption.
He said the law should favour the local people, saying mining companies should have shareholders of Malawians and clear corporate social responsibility to benefit the mining areas.
“We want local people to start benefitiing from the natural resources,” said Chakwera.
He said the local communities like Karonga were being deprived of the benefits of their natural resources as officials from the department of mines keep going to the mining area to collect huge amounts of deposits on the pretext of conducting a survey instead of coming on the open to declare whether the areas have precious stones or not.
The leader opposition noted that the entire property and control over all minerals in Malawi is vested in the President on behalf of the people of Malawi, saying this has to change.
“We need to stop the dealings between prospective corporations working in the extractive industry and the Malawi Government secret at State House. These dealings are supposed to be negotiated to promote the interests of the people of Malawi,” he said.
Chakwera said for the country to benefit from an extractive activity such as mining, there must be a legislative and policy framework that is deliberately structured to respond to all possible challenges in the process.
He adds that this ensures that benefits from the industry are equitably realised.
The 2007 Kayelekera development deal for uranium with Paradin was negotiated under the legislative direction of the 1981 Mines and Minerals Act. There was not even a mining policy then.
The Natural Resource Justice Network (NRJN), a group of CSOs that speaks on mining, however, proposes the need for Malawi to have a Mineral Development Corporation to consist of representatives of key government departments such as mines development, environmental affairs, finance, economic planning, lands, geological survey, civil society representative, law society and accountancy body.
“The corporation should have a board of directors, chief executive officers and management and again, it should be provided with functions which are mainly facilitating development, including investment decision making; negotiating mining agreements and setting the requisite investment targets and monitoring,” says Renfold Mwangonde, spokesperson for NRJN.
Meanwhile, government has been urged to take action against illegal gold mining by many foreigners.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :