Malawi earned K5.94 billion ($13.6 million) from extractive industries between July 2014 and June 2015, it has been learnt.
Details of the revenue are reflected in the first Malawi Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (Mweiti) report released in Lilongwe yesterday.
The report said the revenue generated contributed 0.92 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 1.1 percent of government revenue during the review period. The industry also accounted for 0.69 percent of total exports for the period under review.
According to the report, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) accounted for 60 percent of the total revenue streams generated by the sector, followed by the Department of Forestry (DoF) and the Department of Mines (DoM) at 22 percent and nine percent, respectively.
Further breakdown shows that 49 percent of the revenue was from Forestry, 40 percent from solid minerals and 11 percent from oil and gases.
In an interview yesterday, mining expert Grain Malunga, a former Cabinet minister and member of Parliament (MP), said the figures show that the country is still at a grassroot level of exploration and should help civil society organisations (CSOs) understand that companies in the industry are still doing explorations rather than the actual mining.
He said: “CSOs are misinforming communities that Malawi is mining, but the benefits are not seen. But we are at an exploration stage where companies are at the moment putting in money to look for minerals and not to mine.
“When they [companies] look for minerals and are viable to mine, then the contribution of mining to GDP will be higher.”
Malunga added that increasing the percentage of extractive industry exports will depend on the type of minerals the country is extracting.
Malunga said there is need for the country to attract more investors to extract precious metals which could generate the much-needed revenue.
According to the 2016 Annual Economic Report, the combined sectors of agriculture, forestry and fisheries accounted for 29 percent of GDP in the 2014/15 financial year.
The figures from the report also show that the mining and quarrying sector is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2017 compared to 0.4 percent in 2016 and 1.1 percent in 2015.
The contribution of the mining sector to GDP reduced significantly following the closure of the Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga operated by Paladin Africa. The mine suspended its activities in 2014 as a result of the prevailing low uranium prices. n