The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), CCAP Livingstonia Synod’s Church and Society programme and the academia have warned government against awarding of licences for petroleum exploration and production, arguing the country follows an outdated Act that is prone to abuse.
In their contributions on Wednesday during a public hearing on the exploration of fuel on Lake Malawi organised by Surestream Petroleum, the stakeholders said the country has already suffered a big blow with the outdated Minerals and Mining Act which has seen investors exploiting the country.
They said it would be unwise to suffer the exploitation in the petroleum industry by not reviewing the 1983 Petroleum Exploration and Production Act when the country has experienced the exploitation due to the outdated Mining Act.
CCAP Livingstonia Synod Church and Society Programme director Moses Mkandawire said investors capitalise on the weak laws to exploit the country.
He said it is high time the country drew lessons from past mistakes.
“We need a binding legal framework that will protect Malawians?” said Mkandawire.
He said there is need for petroleum exploration activities to be put to a halt and review the laws to protect Malawians.
Mzuzu CCJP diocesan secretary Arnold Msimuko said the country has to put the laws in order before awarding licences; otherwise, the country will not benefit from its resources.
Ministry of Mines deputy director Peter Chilumanga said government cannot afford to lose investors just because it has an outdated Act.
He said government will work on a policy to guide the exploration and production activities and later review the Act.