By Watipaso Mzungu
President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has signed into law 15 bills, which members of Parliament (MPs) passed during the fifth meeting of the 49th Session of Parliament.
Presidential Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda has confirmed.
Kasunda said the assented to bills include Bill No. 2 of 2022: Land Survey (Amendment); Bill No. 3 of 2022: Physical Planning (Amendment); Bill No. 4 of 2022: Registered Land (Amendment); Bill No. 5 of 2022: Lands Acquisition and Compensation (Amendment); Bill No. 6 of 2022: Customary Land (Amendment); and Bill No. 7 of 2022: Peace and Unity; Bill No. 8 of 2022: OPEC Fund for International Development (Dowa Town Water Supply and Sanitation Project (Loan Authorisation) and Bill No. 9 of 2022: International Development Association (Additional Financing for Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project) Loan Authorization.
Others are Bill No. 10 of 2022: Non-Governmental Organizations (Amendment); Bill No. 14 of 2022: Malawi Revenue Authority (Amendment); Bill No. 17 of 2022: Seeds; Bill No. 18 of 2022: Customs and Excise (Amendment); Bill No. 19 of 2022: Public Private Partnership; Bill No. 21 of 2021: Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Bill No. 1 of 2022: National Children’s Commission (Amendment).
At the recent Government Faces The Press, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Sam Dalitso Kawale, disclosed that the new land-related laws will address challenges affecting land acquisition and ownership in Malawi.
Kawale said, for instance, that the government plans to digitalize land information as a measure to achieve equitable land distribution in Malawi.
He said this exercise will also expose how some greedy individuals, particularly Malawians of other origins, used their accumulated wealth and money to push indigenous Malawians to the corners through acquisition of multiple plots both in cities and major towns across the country.
Kawale said the government has brought six categories of land laws, which are aimed at protecting everyone, including the underprivileged to own land in the country.
“Everything will be digitalized by December 2022. And I can’t wait for 2023 because then we will not have problems with people acquiring huge pieces of land, which they are failing to develop,” he said.
Among others, the laws pronounce penalties on people applying for freehold land, but fail to develop within two years after acquisition.
Kawale says the law empowers the government (the ministry) to re-enter (repossess) undeveloped land and offer it to someone else with resources to develop.
On the Land Survey Amendment Bill, the minister said this law will address problems of duplicity in land survey while, at the same time, accommodate of use of new technologies in land surveys.