By EDDIE OSIFELO
OPPOSITION Leader, Mathew Wale calls on the Government to place an indefinite moratorium on mining licenses.
He said the moratorium must cover both prospecting and mining leases until a new legislation has been passed in parliament or at the very least that the weaknesses in the current law are rectified.
Speaking at the Special Adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday, Wale said the first-come-first-served rule in the current law is outdated and is a great risk to the proper management of our minerals sector.
He said it is being exploited by companies with dubious capacity owned by shareholders with dubious character.
“The government’s policy to fast track three mining licenses is a bad decision,” Wale said.
“Our minerals are a non-renewable resource and must be protected,” he added.
Wale said the companies that are being considered for these fast-tracked licenses have a clear and direct association with individuals we know from the logging industry to have participated in transfer pricing and other illegal and unethical conduct.
He said the government must not allow the practices in the logging industry to be migrated over to the mining industry.
“If no changes are made to current legislation before those licenses are issued, it will be clear that government is intent on ensuring that those bad practices are repeated in mining.
“And this country and its people will again be the biggest losers,” he said.
Wale said it is a terrible excuse to say these licenses need to be fast-tracked to increase government revenues.
“We would rather be poor than continue to be raped and looted by these dubious foreigners,” he added.