CCJP laments legal & policy gaps in mining sector
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has questioned whether Malawians will benefit directly from their mineral deposits.
Malawi: Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has questioned whether Malawians will benefit directly from their mineral deposits unless the government addresses legal and policy gaps in the mining sector, writes Watipaso Mzungu.
CCJP) National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana observed that current legal and policy frameworks favour foreign investors, depriving citizens of their God-given right to natural resources.
Chibwana was speaking at the Crossroads Hotel on Friday as part of the agenda for the CSOs Strategic Meeting to Consolidate Human Rights Policy and Legal Gaps in Extractive Industries in Malawi.
He emphasised the importance of the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Mining, taking a proactive approach to improving the country's economic development.
"If we believe that the mining sector could be an alternative source of revenue for the country, then various industry players must face their responsibilities head-on," Chibwana added.
He bemoaned the fact that, while the new Mines and Minerals Act is in place, there are no regulations to enforce its implementation.
He stated that the country implemented a decentralisation policy, which should be implemented in the mining sector so that communities are empowered to protect their natural resources.
Human rights violations are on the rise in some mines, according to Chibwana, and they must be addressed using the appropriate laws.
Local miners, according to the coordinator, are subjected to low pay and frequently struggle to be paid in full and on time.
He stated that duty-bearers must be involved in order to improve the lives and working conditions of the country's mining companies.
Chibwana stated that mining industry players do not believe in promoting transparency and accountability, particularly when it comes to licencing and contract awarding to miners.
Max Chikako, the National Coordinator for Youth in Mining, laments the lack of youth involvement in the mining sector, which is fueling the country's unemployment rates.
Chikako requested that the government involve the youth in the sector's development, stating that the youth have the potential to move the industry in order to realise Malawi 2063.
Recently, Mining Minister Albert Mbawala assured civil society organisations that his ministry is working to address the legal and policy frameworks that prevent Malawians from accessing mineral deposits.