Malawi’s newly appointed Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Atupele Muluzi has said it is high time Malawi stopped the ‘business as usual’ approach in handling the mining sector, promising to change such attitude during his term of office.
Muluzi said this at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday when he addressed a donor coordinating meeting which drew key partners from the donor community who are supporting Malawi’s mining sector.
Said Muluzi: “We do not want business as usual in the mining sector.
It is important that we demonstrate results by ensuring the benefits of mineral exploitation are optimally collected and utilised in a transparent manner.”
Malawi’s mining sector, which is in its infancy, is currently contributing K10 to every K100 of the country’s total wealth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) and is earmarked to contribute K20 to every K100 of Malawi’s GDP in 2016.
But despite its significant contribution to the economy, some socio-commentators have recently argued that the sector lacks transparency in the way proceeds are handled by foreign mining companies; hence, it is not benefiting Malawians.
Some civil society organisations (CSOs) also faulted the way government has been handling the formulation of key documents governing the sector, saying the process is usually non-participatory and shielded by government.
Muluzi said there are some preliquisite foundations to the development of sustainable mining which include development of conducive policies, putting in place legal frameworks and also multi-stakeholder participation.
“This government realises that and sets mining sector among its high priorities. Let me also acknowledge unequivocally, that the basis of growth and development resides in the manner in which we manage the mining sector and the extractive industry,” added Muluzi.
Generally, socio-economic commentators agree that mining contributes to economic development through inflow of foreign direct investment, employment, government revenues, foreign exchange earnings, innovation and development.
Commenting on the airborne geophysical survey which commenced last year, Muluzi said the data will put Malawi on an international map and help build investors’ confidence.
Some of the development partners present during the meeting were from World Bank, European Union, Japanese Embassy, French embassy, Germany embassy and Norway.