On Friday 17 May 2013, Malawi’s president Joyce Banda gave a State of the Nation Address to open the 2013/2014 Budget meeting of Parliament in Lilongwe.
Before this address was given, The Daily Times reported that the general public’s plea is for government to develop solutions for “challenges currently rocking the economy”.
Spokesperson of the opposition party Democratic Progressive Party, Nicholas Dausi, criticised the speech and called it a “wish list” according to Rebecca Chimjeka, who won this year’s blogger of the year award from the National Media Institute Of Southern Africa. Chimjeka also blogged that the United Democratic Front’s leader, Atupele Muluzi, believes that Banda failed to give direction to the nation’s economic recovery.
Malawi’s Muckracker and BBC correspondent Raphael Tenthani proposed a shorter, 1000-word alternative State of the Nation Address to Banda’s 100-page, 13,500-word Address.
In the address, Mining and Energy were presented in depth as they are two of the five pillars (commercial agriculture, tourism, energy, mining and information and communication technologies) of the country’s 18-month Economic Recovery Plan that Joyce Banda launched last year. This State of the Nation Address at the second sitting of the 44th session of parliament dedicated more time to mining with greater detail of projects than the previous address given at the first sitting in February this year.
Mr Speaker, Sir, the mining sector continued to grow steadily and its contribution to the GDP grew from 3 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2012, resulting in a substantial increase in exports. My Government continued implementing measures aimed at creating a conducive environment that encourages investments in the sector.Mr. Speaker Sir, I am pleased to inform the honourable House that during the year under review, Government has:
- Launched the Mines and Minerals Policy in April this year, which will, among other things, guide and promote sustainable development of the mining sector
- Reviewed the Mines and Minerals Act which will be tabled in this House before the end of this year;
- Issued exploration licences to investors as one way of encouraging mining activities in the country;
- undertook measures to organize small scale miners into groups and cooperatives in order to promote artisanal and small scale mining operations in the country
- started developing a generic Petroleum Sharing Agreement that will be used by all companies wishing to explore oil and gas in Malawi, and
- Launched airborne geophysical mineral exploration programme to be carried out by Nu-energy Gas of Australia in the Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2013/2014 Fiscal Year, Government will:-
- continue to implement the Mining Growth and Governance Support Project with financial support from the World Bank and European Union;
- introduce training courses in mining in our institutions of higher learning. I am therefore pleased to inform this honourable House that the Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, has started developing a curriculum in mining. I am pleased to announce that the Government of Botswana has offered full scholarships for Malawian students to study Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Mining Engineering in Botswana, and
- develop an Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Policy.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with the current developments in the mining sector, it is projected that the sector’s contribution tothe country’s GDP may rise from 10 percent to over 20 percent in the next five years.
Mr Speaker, Sir, the country continues to face a number of challenges in the energy sector. These include inadequate capacity to generate electricity and intermittent supply.Consequently, economic activity in areas such as mining and manufacturing are affected. To address these problems,my Government is implementing a number of projects.In the year under review, Government registered the following key achievements:-
- continued to implement the Kapichira Hydro-power Project Phase 2. I am pleased to inform this honourable House that Kapichira Hydro-power Project Phase 2 will be commissioned in December this year. It will add 64 Mega Watts to the national grid;
- distributed 2 million free energy saver bulbs across thec ountry which resulted in power savings of up to 45 Mega Watts
- started installation of a USD 6 million solar power plant that will add 850 Kilo Watts to the national electricity grid. The project is expected to be commissioned in August this year at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe; and
- Malawi has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TBEA of China to upgrade the eastern line from Nkula to Bwengu via Salima and Nkhotakota. The feasibility study has been finalised and project works are expected later this year
- implement the three year Coal Fired Power Generation Project whose Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed with China Gezhouba Construction;and
- Electrify 27 rural trading centres by December 2013,under the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) 7.
For further information on what else Banda had to say during the opening of the second sitting of the 44th session of parliament, including focus on tourism, infrastructure development, macroeconomic stability, economic growth and export diversification, download the full text courtesy of The Nation.