The Parliamentary Cluster on Agricultural and Natural Resources on Thursday sent back officials from the Ministry of Mining due to their failure to operationalise the Mining Act.
The Cluster`s Co-Chairperson Werani Chilenga said it is unrealistic to entrust the Ministry with public funds when it is failing to carry out its mandate.
“It is indeed true that we have requested them to go back, it is very unfortunate that Parliament passed the Mines and Minerals Act in 2018 since then that act has not been put in place, regulations have not been finalised,” he said.
“The simple question we were asking them is that you have [the Ministry officials] how are you going to implement the budget if we approve without the regulations and the Act in place?”
Chilenga added that the Ministry does not have policies that are required to implement the budget.
“They don’t have proper penalties for instance if there is illegal mining taking place somewhere it is difficult for the Courts to sentence properly such cases,” wondered Chilenga.
Meanwhile, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Mining Joseph Mkandawire said the Ministry will follow up with the responsible Ministry of Justice on the subsidiary act.
“The Ministry of Justice has got its own programme and we have been checking with but for me to say they will be able to be through with the subsidiary legislation on such a date it was difficult but we are going back to Ministry of Justice and check with them,” he said.
The officials are expected to reappear before the Cluster next week with detailed information on what the Cluster is demanding.