Mutharika spells out reforms to uplift mining sector
…Investors will enjoy services of efficient cadastral system
President Peter Mutharika says government will continue advancing various reforms to facilitate the growth of the mining industry which has been earmarked as a potential vehicle to deliver economic fortunes to the nation.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the opening of the current session of parliament, the President said government, will among other reforms, establish a modern geo-data management platform, which he said, once operational,
will provide investors with a trouble-free access to geo-scientific information essential for making well-informed mining investment decisions.
Players in the sector will also enjoy services of a modern computer-based mining cadastral system, which once set up, will provide a more transparent, effective and efficient platform for the processing and management of mineral rights,
He told the house that so far the government has completed the review of the Mines and Minerals Act of 1981 to align it with the newly drafted 2015 National Mines and Minerals Policy.
Mutharika explained that these legal reforms will assist the government in offering more competitive mining incentives, equitable shares of profit, sound infrastructure development and local community investments in so doing boosting the economy of the country.
On energy sector development, Mutharika said his government is implementing programmes and projects aimed at improving energy generation, transmission and distribution.
We have set out to expand, diversify and liberalise energy production to say farewell to blackouts in our homes and industry. I dare say – we have done in two years what this country could not do in the last fifty years,
Mutharika cited the creation of the Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), which has now taken over the electricity generation function from Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) as one of the reforms his government has undertaken to improve efficiency in the area of power generation.
He said other initiatives the government is executing in the power sector include commencement of the Malawi Rural Electrification Program (MAREP) Phase 8, which will connect a total of 336 rural trading centres throughout Malawi to the National electricity grid, completion of a Feasibility Study and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the Mozambique-Malawi Power Interconnector, completion of feasibility studies for the 300 MW Kamwamba Coal-fired Power Plant and geotechnical investigations and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments on three potential hydropower sites at Fufu, Mpatamanga and Kholombidzo which will add about 700 Megawatts to the electricity generation capacity.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe has presented the 2017/18 national budget in which he said Malawi and other emerging economies are expected to benefit from strong economic growth in China, India and many other commodity importers.
Malawi’s mineral sector has been strongly hit by low commodity prices which have, among other things, led to closure of several mines including Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga, which is so far the country’s largest mining investment.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 50 (June 2017).