A ban on the oil and gas exploration exercise on Lake Malawi which has been in place since 2015, has effectively been lifted by President Peter Mutharika, , Minister of Foreign Affairs George Chaponda disclosed at a news conference in Lilongwe.
Mutharika suspended oil and gas exploration on the lake in 2014 because of allegations that the awarding of licenses to foreign companies was dubiously done.
The lifting of the ban will now allow oil and gas firms to start prospecting for the hydro-carbons.
“I am pleased to inform you that the President (Peter Mutharika) has lifted the ban. More details will come from the relevant ministry. I am glad that the president has picked this path. The mining sector will play an important role,” Chaponda told a news conference.
Chaponda said oil and gas exporters Georgia and Kazakhstan, are among the nations who have courted Malawi on the oil and gas exploration.
The Minister held discussions with Republic of Georgia’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister David Jalagania, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Affairs deputy minister Ycrzhan Ashikbayev and Morocco’s Foreign Affairs deputy Minister Sala Heddine Mezouar on the sidelines of the 26th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Chaponda said these countries will provide expertise and share their knowledge.
The lifting of the ban has excited some business and civic leaders .
Civil society activist Undule Mwakasungula also it is “welcome development” for government to move with speed on the oil licensing decisions.
Businessperson Peter Manda, who is also secretary for Karonga Development Community (KDC)—a development umbrella body in the Northern Region district— said with the foundations of the country’s economy shaken to the core on the back of poor agricultural output and tattered public finances that have stifled entrepreneurship, businesses are banking their hopes and dreams in the nascent, but promising oil and gas industry.
Manda said they have been discussing how communities will work with the companies to operate in the area as apart from corporate social responsibility activities, business people in Karonga were also looking forward to working with the companies in a number of areas through partnerships and synergy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :