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CSOs want Malawi’s mining report stayed

LUCRATIVE—Mining industry

A group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the Malawi Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Mweiti) has written the Board of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Eiti) in Oslo, Norway, affirming their proposal that the body withhold endorsement of Malawi’s 4th Eiti report.

This is contained in a letter addressed to Eiti Executive Director Mark Robinson, dated January 28 2021 signed by Oxfam Malawi, Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy, Publish What You Pay Malawi, Focus and Church and Society of Livingstonia reads.

The CSOs lament that the report was submitted without their input.

“We believe that the Mweiti process is not just a “report endorsement” process. Rather, it is an engagement process which can facilitate meaningful dialogue and help restore the trust of citizens in the extractives sector which currently lacks public trust,” the letter reads.

They fault the Ministry of Mining for failure to adhere to standards of transparency as promoted by Eiti.

However, Ministry of Mining spokesman Sangwani Phiri rated the move as unfortunate, saying stakeholders needed to operate together if the industry were to grow.

“We are more than committed to work with any stakeholder on issues of nation building and not gagging with intent to instill fear.

“The government is more into the promotion of transparency and accountability by way of enhancing its apparatus that fight against any form of corruption and bribery which can derail the country’s path towards fruitful and rewarding development,” Phiri said.

Media reports suggests that Malawi risks losing its Eiti membership due to delayed submission of the Eiti report and for not factoring in the input of other stakeholders.

In an interview, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira decried continued secrecy in the extractive industry.

EITI Board gave Malawi an 18-month ultimatum until August 27, 2020 to fulfil requirements relating to extractive industry transparency or risk suspension from the global network.

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