By Bester Kayaye
The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has questioned the significance of the proposed Malawi Mining Regulatory Authority whose bill is expected to be tabled in the November sitting of the August house.
Committee chairperson Welani Chilenga told Mining and Trade Review that establishment of the Authority will not address the serious problems currently dogging Malawi’s extractive sector arguing that the problems emanate from lack of execution mantle in implementing the already established policies.
Chilenga explained that there is need for robust policy implementation at all levels of Malawi’s mining sector including revitalization of the Department of Mines.
He said: “If the Bill comes, we will treat it accordingly. Fortunately, if such bills surface in parliament they are referred back to the parliamentary committee responsible, so it is our hope that once it comes it will definitely be referred to our committee and we will do the needful.”
“For me the Bill does not make any difference since we already have Ministry of Mining and the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019 which has very vibrant clauses and also stipulates stiff penalties for offenders. If this Act was utilized to the fullest, I do not think we could be having the current challenges.”
Spokesperson for the Mining of Mining Andrew Mkonda confirmed to the local media that the Ministry of Mining had finalized and submitted the Bill for the creation of the Authority to the Ministry of Justice for scrutiny.
Mkonda said the Bill seeks to curb unchecked cases of illegal mining and subsequent lack of accountability in the sector.
President Lazarus Chakwera has on several occasions emphasized that his government is determined to revitalise the country’s mining sector through establishment of the state-owned mining company the Malawi Mining Investment Company (MMIC) and the Malawi Mining Regulatory Authority, among other measures.