Striking deals first –dangerous

It is generally believed that everything happens for a reason. Therefore one can say that the recent comments by the Reserve Bank of Malawi governor, Dr Perks Ligoya  on alleged mistakes on Kayerekera mining agreement , were for a reason. Most likely the governor might have wanted Malawians to know how the government seemed to have faulted in the mining agreement.

There is nothing wrong with Ligoya’s comments or revelations though some people might blame him for washing dirty linen in public. However, such actions must be expected when a desperate situation, like the economic crisis in Malawi, arises. All avenues to track down lost revenue must be exploited even if it means exposing the shortfalls of government.

It is possible that if Ligoya had not come out with such revelations, no one else could have done so. Whether or not Ligoya apologized to Paladin Energy Ltd, is neither here nor there. But the situation so far remains. Malawi had gotten a raw deal. Indeed there is nothing to write home about Kayerekera except for a few jobs given to Malawians.

Ligoya: Opened the can of worms

It must be mentioned that since 2007, Malawians have been having great expectations of an improved economy from uranium exports from Kayerekera.

It is appreciated  that Paladin mining might be fearing that the governor’s comments will disturb its investiment in Malawi. But what is not appreciated is that Malawi is on the losing end. One does not necessarily need to know something about mining in order to see that things are not adding up in the Kayerekera mining. Lack of transparency is forcing people to speculate that these public resources of uranium are indeed being converted into personal fortunes somewhere.

If what is stated in media is true that the government has so far had no means of tracking uranium proceeds, then there is something very wrong with the Mutharika administration. For goodness sake, how can a poor country like Malawi have no mechanism to follow up its income from exports?

It does not make any economic sense that it had to take 4 years for government to find mistakes in an international agreement. It is scaring to think of how many more agreements  have been mishandled.

The bottom line on the Kayerekera agreement is the bad habit that governments in power seem to promote. This is that the government strike deals first and only look at the formalities later. Worse still those in power seem to be in a hurry and will sign any deal provided they stand to personally get something out of it. When the deal backfires, that is when they look at the formalities. This is a very unacceptable style of running a government.

The above seems to be the case with the infamous ‘spying machine’ which is facing public rejection. Needless to say that there seem to have been no consultation with relevant authorities before the government spent millions of kwachas on the machine.

Lastly, the onus is on all Malawians to follow up on deals and agreements that the government makes. Failing which public resources will continue to be unscrupulously lost while Malawians die under the weight of poverty.
Emily Mkamanga email [email protected]

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