By Wahard Betha
Local firm Perekezi ASM Consultants and Events, which is implementing a mining governance programme with funding from the US Embassy, says it engaged Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change (NRCC) to orient the Members of Parliament (MPs) on their oversight role in various aspects and emerging issues in the extractive sector.
A member of Perekezi ASM Consultants and Events Elyvin Chawinga Nkhonjera told Mining & Trade Review that the engagement with the MPs was organized upon realization of the gaps in knowledge of the country’s mining sector by the MPs.
Nkhonjera said: “We engaged the MPs so that they should understand their oversight role in the extractive sector as well as understanding the local artisanal and small scale mining industry and its potential.”
“Actually, this is just the starting point because from the baseline we could see that there were gaps simply because this is the committee that has just come in place and previously not undergone training programmes on extractive sector.”
“This is the sector that is very broad and too technical hence requires training programmes for someone to fully understand it.”
“So this is like an entry point with the committee and we will ensure that we source more funds so that we continue engaging with these committee members.”
Nkhonjera also said that the training has come at an opportune time when the country is in the middle of contract negotiations with a number of mining companies that have or nearly completed exploration.
She said the engagement will help the MPs to perform their oversight role as they will fully understand what is being negotiated or what is contained in the negotiation deals.
“The knowledge gap was in the understanding of fiscal terms because the sector is too technical and it is also a debate because these are debatable or negotiable facts. For example, you could see the issue of royalties, others think having higher royalties is better while others feel like it is bad,” NKhonjera said.
In his remarks, Chairperson for the Committee Werani Chilenga lauded the meeting saying it was a crucial orientation as most MPs are new and some not conversant with mining issues as well as the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019.
He said; “Now, it looks like we need more interactions with the stakeholder Perekezi ASM Consultants and Events because most of the members need to be oriented on most illegal mining hotspots and other places where mining is taking place in the country.”
“The meeting is not enough but half bread is better than none. But at least in as far as oil contracts are concerned, members have learnt something, and now moving forward, if government is engaging someone to do oil exploration, members should be able to provide an oversight function from what we have learnt today.”
Chilenga further urged the firm to organise more orientation workshops for the MPs while on the other hand pushing the Government to walk the talk to make sure that the laws that govern the sector are fully functional.
Perekezi provides expert Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining and Event Management services to government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
The consulting firm focuses on areas of: capacity building and trainings; responsible sourcing and mineral supply chains; research; environmental management and; events management.