Expedite action on law to back EITI – Government urged

l   Gold is the number two foreign exchange earner for Ghana.

The government must expedite action on a law to back the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), Allan Lassey Senior Extractive Advisor of GIZ, a German development organisation, has said.

He said a law on EITI had become necessary to make it mandatory for companies in the extractive sector to make public information regarding their business operations such as contracts and ownership.

Mr Lassey made the call in Accra at a stakeholders meeting to validate the Ghana EITI (GHEITI) 2016 final report.

The GHEITI Report, among other things, highlights efforts being made by the country to promote transparency in the extractive sector.

Ghana signed on to the EITI, a global initiative to promote transparency in the extractive sector, in 2013 as part of efforts to make the sector more open to the public in terms of revenue being derived and how mining contracts are allocated.

The 2016 report indicated that Ghana had made meaningful progress overall in implementing the EITI standards.

Mr Lassey entreated the GHEITI Board to fine-tune the EITI Bill and present to Parliament to be passed into law.

He lauded the government for signing on to the EITI, saying Ghana had achieved a lot of successes since it signed on to the EITI about fourteen years ago.

He said the EITI had helped to open up the extractive sector to the key stakeholders in the industry and to the public.

“About 18 years ago, it was not easy to discuss extractive sector issues in the public but the situation is different today,” he said.

The Co-Chair of GHETI, Dr Steve Manteaw in a presentation said Ghana made strides in promoting transparency in the extractive sector.

Dr Manteaw, however, said there were some corrective actions the country must made before another review was done in 2018.

For instance, he said Ghana was required to maintain a publicly available register of all the companies in the extractive sector and their owners and also provide export data on its mineral resources such as gold and oil.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, Patrick Numo in a speech read on his behalf commended the Multi-Stakeholder Group, development partners and other stakeholders whose relentless efforts had contributed to Ghana “making meaningful progress with the implantation of the EITI standards”.

He entreated stakeholders in the natural resource sector not to relent in their efforts but continue to work hard to promote transparency in the natural resource sector.

By Kingsley Asare

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