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Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

Antony Sedzro (Local journalist)

sedtony@yahoo.com

Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Inusah Fuseini, has announced that government is developing a bill to spell out the disbursement of revenues from the mining sector.

The bill will be similar to the existing Revenue Management Law which guides the usage of revenues from the country’s oil and gas sector.

Players in the mining sector have been calling for a fund which would help track revenues from the sector and enable Ghanaians appreciate its contribution to the economy.

Mr Fuseini announced this at the opening of the 6th Revenue Watch/GIZ Summer School for participants from 12 countries, in Accra.

He said “Ghana has also decided to put in place a Mineral Development Fund Bill which is going to be laid before Cabinet, to provide transparency in the management of ceded royalties to mining communities.”

When passed into law, the Fund is expected to track mining revenues and their disbursements. Currently, most mining royalties go to local assemblies and Chieftaincy stools and there are no clearly spelt out means of tracking the disbursements, especially by the local Assemblies.

Local mining communities will now identify projects for which the fund would be channeled into, the minister revealed. This, he believes, will bring transparency and accountability in the disbursement of mining inflows. He said this will also clear the perception that mining has contributed little to the development of the nation.

Speaking at the same event, the former CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Joyce Aryee challenged African leaders to stop failing their people in the midst of abundant natural resources.

Citing countries like China, Korea, and Singapore, Dr. Aryee said if these countries have become economically prosperous despite the global economic challenges, then Africans have no excuse to fail.

Ghana is a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international body that sets a global standard for transparency in oil, gas and mining sectors. The EITI has 39 countries as members, and 23 have achieved “EITI compliant” status including Ghana.

In May this year, the EITI approved a revised standard of performance requiring its 39 implementing countries to release wide-ranging new information about their oil, gas and mining industries.

This move by Ghana to establish a Mineral’s Development Fund is therefore seen as part of the measures to comply with the EITI’s standards.

According to the Ghana’s EITI publication of February this year, the mining sector recorded $942,698 million and $897,710 million as government revenue and company payments respectively, with the oil and gas sectors pooling in $792 million and $652 million as government revenue and company payments for 2011, information from the Ghana News Agency revealed.

The EITI gave impetus to related laws including the Minerals and Mining Law, ACT 703 of 2006 and the Petroleum Revenue Management ACT, ACT 815 of 2011.

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