Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN), a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) that advocate for improvements in the mining sector, has faulted President Peter Mutharika’s decision to split Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining into three ministries.
The split has seen the 32-member Cabinet having Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources and Mining and Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Wildlife.
The network’s chairperson, Kossam Munthali, said the split of the ministries will drain the limited government resources.
Munthali said K40 billion, which was allocated to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in the 2020/2021 national budget, cannot be enough for the operations of three fully fledged ministries.
“In the current national budget, the ministry was allocated around K40 billion and the big share of the resources are channelled to the energy sector. Mining and environment sectors share the small allocation.
“Now, if the mining sector is already getting little, how will now a full ministry which has a minister and a deputy utilise the funds to improve the mining sector?” Munthali queried.
But government spokesperson, Mark Botomani, differed with Munthali, saying necessary initiatives have been put in place to ensure resources are available to all ministries.
“They were supposed to commend the President because he has seen it necessary for the departments, which were in the same ministry, to work independently and serve Malawians to the fullest. Ministers look at a greater need in the ministry and this helps to improve areas which seem ignored,” Botomani said.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Mining was given to former Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, who turned down the offer.
Deputy Minister of the ministry is Werani Chilenga who was the chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change.
Other ministries that have been split include the Minis try of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and Ministry of Health and Population.