Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have condemned government for using archaic pieces of mining legislation which do not respond to emerging issues in the country’s infant mining sector.
The CSOs have also called for an immediate formulation of a policy to guide revenue collection from the sector, usage of such revenue accrued as well as auditing of the proceeds from the entire extractive industry.
The CSOs, namely Action Aid Malawi (AAM) and the Citizen for Justice (CFJ), raised the concern in Lilongwe yesterday when they jointly launched a project called the Responsive Mining Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development of Malawi and also operationalised the Natural Resource Justice Network.
The project is aimed at improving collective action among CSOs and communities for effective advocacy on mining issues.
CFJ executive director Reinford Mwangonde said they are displeased to see Malawi employing the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981, the Environmental Management Act of 1996 which he said are outdated.
Said Mwangonde: “Then we also have the Petroleum [Exploration and Production] Act of 1983 and the Explosive Act of 1968. All these do not respond to the emerging issues in the country’s infant mining sector,” he said.
On his part, AAM acting country director Ulemu Chiluzi lamented that the continued absence of up-to-date mining legislation is providing a hostile environment for the growth of the blossoming sector.
Currently, mining is contributing about 10 percent to Malawi’s total wealth as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP) but it is projected that the sector will contribute not less than 20 percent of GDP in 2016.
“Such lack of a conduncive legal framework to guide the mining sector runs counter to the fact that mining is one of the key priorities in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy and the Economic Recovery Plan,” he said.
Chiluzi, expressed hope that the inception of the Tilitonse-funded Responsive Governance Project, which is worth K205 million, will help build capacity among CSOs in lobbying for mining issues.
He also decried lack of proper coordination among CSOs dealing with mining issues which he said comes about due to competition for space ad financial support.
Levy Wesley Undi who is public relations manager in the Ministry of Mining, while asking for a written questionnaire for a more comprehensive response, said government is currently reviewing the Mines and Minerals Act and other related pieces of legislation.
“Most legislation are being worked on for them to be in line with the best practices in the region,” he said.