Minerals and environmental management expert has tipped the government to work towards attracting foreign direct investment into the sector if it is to contribute to national economic development.
The specialist, Grain Malunga, who once served as minister of Energy and Mining, has said, through interpretation of anomalies and remapping of the whole country using available geological information to qualify recent geophysical data, the country would make the mining sector attractive to foreign investors.
This is contained in his paper titled ‘A Comparative Study of Malawi’s Mining Sector with Some Mining Countries’.
He says the regulatory and legislative framework needs to be revisited, bringing stability clauses and training tax collectors to interpret government taxation policy without prejudice while understanding the positive role they need to play using a friendly gesture.
He argues that Malawi is in an awkward position because of its thin industrial base and less than a million tax payers who have to cater for the whole population that does not pay significant taxes and is looking up to government to provide them with potable water, health and education services and farm input subsidies.
“Registration of companies and issuance of business licences should be done within a week. The government has the choice to come up with a mining Act that is investor-friendly or the one that is civil society friendly,” Malunga says.
In an interview Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala said the government was already taking action on recommendations made by Malunga.
He said the government has concluded policies and regulations that will operationalise the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019.
“We want to establish a mining authority to bring sanity to the industry. It will deal with issues of illegal mining, smuggling of minerals and regulate foreign direct investors who can come to Malawi.
“A bill to establish the authority is at the Ministry of Justice and will be presented to Parliament during the next meeting,” Mbawala said.