By Draxon Maloya.
Government has reiterated the need for diversification in the improvement of the mining industry in enhancing socioeconomic development in the country.
This was disclosed on Thursday when delegations from Publish as You Pay (PWYP) Malawi and Natural Resource Justice Network had a day long meeting with Mining Minister, Rashid Gaffar, his ministry’s Principal Secretary, Dr Mkandawire and the Director of Mines, Burnette Msiska.
Among others discussions centered on both success and challenges affecting the mining industry.
Successes included; Political will and open door policy, the enacted Mines and Mineral Act, participation in EITI processes, capacity development initiatives and promulgation of the Access to Information Law.
In an interview after the meeting one of the delegates who heads the Mining Department at Church and Society Program in the Synod of Livingston’s of the Church of Central African Presbytery, Paul Mvula described the meeting as a good yardstick.
“What we have agreed is to come up with a matrix that will detail out timelines on how the sector is going to implement policies that can improve the mining industry ,” Mvula said.
Considering a number of reasons affecting the growth of mining activities in the country, some negative developments raised include; Low participation of the communities in the sector, poor inspection systems, non-responsive systems to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) recommendations and other related ississue
Non-availability of the Mines department personnel at District level, inadequate capacity as well as enforcement mechanism on Environment Impact Assessment s, poor negotiations’ skills, poor coordination between and amongst ministries and departments including Civil Society Organizations (CSO).
However, parties therefore agreed to take a collective responsibility in facilitating periodic meetings, civic education, recruit more personnel, revise rules and regulations such as Petroleum, Exploration and Production Act, lobby for more funding to the sector, put in place strong inspection mechanisms, facilitate research, capacity development and create a specific technical committee for negotiations.
The delegation which was led by the Executive Director for the Church and Society Program, Moses Mkandawire, chairperson for PWYP, Tayler Hayes including Mr H. Mwalukamo, Gloria K. Majiga and Paul Mvula and have agreed to come up with a matrix that will detail out timelines that will have been agreed before the next meeting.
On 24th October 2019, Malawi participated in a discussion on ‘Using Extractive Industry Data to Fight Inequality and Strengthen Accountability; Victories, Lessons, Future Directions for Africa, the event which took place in Brookings Institute’s Falk Auditorium in Washington DC in USA which focused on how different types of Extractive data is being used to fight corruption while addressing inequality gaps.