Chairperson of the Natural Resource and Climate Change Services Committee of Parliament, Werani Chilenga, has disclosed that majority of the members of Parliament (MPs) do not have any knowledge about the laws governing mining and the extractive industry.
Chilenga made the remarks at the National Assembly last Wednesday when Perekezi ASM Consultants presented findings of the baseline survey the firm conducted recently.
The study established a number of gaps in policy and legal frameworks that are hindering progress in the mining sector. It also noted the absence stringent policy and legal framework, which is reportedly fuelling illegal mining and export of raw minerals.
Chilenga agreed with the findings, further stating that even lawmakers are ignorant about the laws governing the sector.
He pleaded with the firm to organize regular trainings for the legislators.
“Most of the MPs are new and they are not conversant with mining issues and they are also not conversant with the Minerals Act of 2019. Therefore, there is a need to have organizations such as Perekezi ASM Consultants to constantly engage and train them. Now it looks like we need more interactions with our stakeholder – Perekezi – because of the members need to be oriented on the hotspots where illegal mining is taking place in Malawi,” he said.
Perekezi ASM Consultants managing partner Elyvin Nkhonjera Chawinga said the overall goal of the project is to improve the oversight role among key stakeholders in the mining sector in Malawi.
Chawinga stated that legislators, which includes civil society leaders, government officials, legislature, and media are key in ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector.
The firm conducted the survey with financial support from the American Embassy in Malawi through the Fiscal Transparency Innovation Fund, which is funding a one-year project on enhancing social accountability (civic engagement) for the realization of fiscal transparency (duty bearer’s responsiveness) in the mining Sector in Malawi.