Malawi President Dr Joyce Banda has said her administration is reviewing Mines and Minerals Act, Petroleum Policy and Petroleum Act to ensure the local population benefit from the mineral resources the country has.
President Banda said this on Friday in Parliament when she delivered a State of the Nation address at the opening the 44th session – the last session of parliament before next year’s elections. There will be three meetings in this session before the house is dissolved next year.
In her address titled ‘Unity of purpose towards economic recovery’, President Banda said mining is one of the five priority sectors of the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) because of its potential to generate foreign exchange.
“It is for this reason that I have created a full Ministry of Mining,” she said in a speech broadcast live on state broadcaster MBC.
“As one of my Government’s priority sector, mining was being overshadowed by other equally important sectors namely energy and environmental affairs,” she said.
President Banda said the split to make Mining standalone Ministry will make it “more visible, focused and effective.”
Malawi’s deposits of uranium, oil and gas, bauxite, coal, phosphates and rare earths are attracting interest in the international market.
The Malawi leader told the House that the Ministry of Mining has prioritised the establishment of legal and institutional framework.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Government is committed to promotion of a conducive, transparent and accountable mining regime in this country,” she said, adding “in this regard, Government is reviewing Mines and Minerals Act, Petroleum Policy and Petroleum Act.”
She stressed: “My Government will ensure that the mineral resources benefit Malawians.”
President Banda told the House that her Government launched the Mining Growth and Governance Support Project on 22nd January, 2013, which is being funded by the French Government, World Bank and the European Union.
“The project will facilitate the development of infrastructure for generation and distribution of reliable geological information and the development of policy instruments to steer good governance and growth of the mining sector,” she said.
President Banda told the House that the mining sector continued to conduct bankable feasibility studies and exploration over Kanyika Niobium deposits in Mzimba, and rare earth minerals and bauxite in Phalombe and Mulanje, respectively.
She also informed that Malawi government has put in place mechanisms to promote participation of local and foreign investors in the mining industry “as a means of generating income and creating employment for poverty reduction.”
Said President Banda: “My Government is assisting small scale miners by mobilising mining artisans into cooperatives and building their capacity in mining so that they add value to their mineral products.”
In her State of the Nation address, President Banda also tacked the issues of corruption, saying her administration will continue to uphold zero tolerance on corruption.
“No stone shall remain unturned and my administration will not cover anyone irrespective of the status that person has in the society,” she stressed.
She said her government is tirelessly working with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to deal with the backlog of investigations and cases that are not yet concluded.
“Government has also intensified its support to ACB in terms of law enforcement and corruption prevention through civil education across the country,” she said.
President Banda also hailed the work of the media, saying the ‘fourth estate’ has been instrumental in the fight against corruption, deepening our democratic process and providing a platform for dialogue
Banda expressed delight with the 2013 World Press Index released by the Reporters without Borders which said Malawi has climbed from 146 last year to position 75 this year in media freedom.
“As a nation we ought to celebrate such an achievement,” she said.
The Head of State also touched on other issues, saying her government was committed to improving agriculture, tourism and the energy sector, saying the areas are crucial to economic growth.
On tourism, President Banda said her government is inviting serious investors to develop Cape Maclear, Salima and Likoma Island Tourist Centres on Lake Malawi and promote water sport and marina on the lake of stars.
The President also commented on the drug crisis informing the House that the donor community has pledged to help addressing the problem of drug shortage with various medical support.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :