Despite Malawi being endowed with substantial minerals and water resources, the country is failing to take advantage of them to create wealth, a recent study has shown.
The study on ‘The Costs and Benefits of Natural Resources Management’ (Fisheries and Mining) done by National Planning Commission (NPC) and its partners, the African Institute Development Policy and the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, recommends better management of the resources to create additional wealth by 2030.
Findings of the study were released in Lilongwe on Monday during a panel discussion NPC hosted on Prioritising Interventions for National Resource Management.
Among others, the study proposes the establishment of 12 ‘landing centres’, which are places for miners to access best practices and modern equipment, something that could increase mining revenue by 35 percent or K10 billion per year.
The establishment of the infrastructure and machinery is expected to cost K5.4 billion while operation costs are pegged at K1.2 billion.
With regard to the fisheries sector, the analysis shows that modernisation of the Chipoka Port Fisheries Aquaculture Infrastructure and Land Development Project, a modern facility that provides boat docking and repairs fish storage processing, packaging facilities and models for smaller fish farms, would increase fishing value-addition by almost K19 billion per year.
One of the panellists, Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change chairperson Welani Chilenga, stressed the need to deploy district mining officers nationwide if the project is to be successful.
He said: “The absence of these officers is making it difficult to control mining at district level. As for the fisheries sector, there is a need to beef up monitoring of illegal fishing by investing in modern technologies like drones.
“Mostly, the illegal mining is being done by politicians who own these boats and they need to be taken to task.”
Another panelist Yanira Ntupanyama, who is Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, said government is working towards protecting all hotspots where illegal mining is taking place.
Speaking earlier, NPC director general Thomas Munthali pointed out that the landing centres could be a first step towards generating more wealth from minerals and gemstones in Malawi, laying a foundation for a modern, vibrant and environmentally sustainable mining sector.