The editorial “Malawi desperately needs new mines law” featured below was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 38 that is circulating this June 2016.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.
Editorial: Malawi desperately needs new mines law
By Marcel Chimwala
It is surprising to learn that the Mines and Minerals Bill is not on the order paper for the current sitting of parliament despite numerous pronouncements by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining that government is doing all it can to ensure that the bill is tabled.
As reported in our main article, the Minister responsible, Bright Msaka, told Mining & Trade Review that the government will not be able to table the bill in the current budget sitting as it is specifically for the budget and that there are plenty of equally important bills that have been accommodated in this sitting.
The Minister, however, stressed that he will push for the bill to be tabled in parliament as soon as possible.
While we very much appreciate the Minister’s desire to see to it that the bill is passed, we wonder why after all the work by Malawians across the board, who were consulted in the formulation of the bill, cabinet is taking ages to get the bill to parliament.
This is happening while the country continues to make use of the 1981 Mines and Minerals Act, which studies have described as an outdated and archaic law.
As opposed to the new bill which rests the ownership of the resources on the state on behalf of the people of Malawi, the outdated law rests the ownership of the resources on the Life President on behalf of Malawians.
The implication of it is that with the current law, formulated during the oppressive one party reign, powerful politicians have had an enabling environment to manipulate mining deals for their personal gains.
We, therefore, support the Minister’s assertion that the Mines and Minerals Bill has to be passed as soon possible because we very much need the new law to bring sanity in the mining sector.
Malawi is a resource rich country but for how long will it continue losing wealth from these non-renewable resources because it does not have an enabling legislative environment to support mineral sector development for sustainable development and poverty eradication?