Malawi Government’s lack of commitment to ensuring a transparent environment has created a sense of hopelessness in the extractive industry, a recent report from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has said.
The report called ‘Mapping of Extractive Companies in Malawi’ also accuses companies such as Paladin Africa of self-enrichment at the expense of locals in areas where mining is taking place.
The report follows a research funded by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in all eight dioceses of the Catholic Church “to contribute to the wider debate on how natural resources can contribute to the sustainable development of Malawi.”
“CCJP has noted that the Malawi Government faces and experiences numerous challenges such as weak and old legislative and policy framework to regulate the sector, contradictory and mixed application of national regulating policies and legislation….,” said CCJP Bishop chairperson the Very Reverend Montfort Stima at the launch of the report in Lilongwe.
He noted that the extractive industry in Malawi suffers from lack of transparency in the utilisation of the proceeds from the mining sector and weak compliance to environmental management plans.
The report, which records that 172 companies are mining in various parts of the country, speaks of disappointments of local communities, who, in some instances, are forced by their chiefs to succumb to displacement with or without compensation.
Presenting a summary of the report to stakeholders in Lilongwe, CCJP monitoring and evaluation officer Paul Sakanda, highlighted 10 major areas of concern in the extractive industry, including human rights-related challenges and lack of decentralisation of the mining governance structures.
“While more licences are being issued, the legal and policy framework regulating the sector remains archaic, fragile and fragmented,” he said.
CCJP has since called on the government to establish a Mining Authority as proposed in the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981.
“One apparent challenge that has been created by the booming extractive sector is police and legislative inconsistencies among existing legislation and policies,” notes the CCJP.