Gov’t Urged To Enact Law On Mineral Management

Mr Julius Debrah,Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (3)Participants at a consultative forum held in Bolgatanga on Wednesday called on govern-ment to enact a Mineral Revenue Management law to ensure accountability, transparency and equitable distribution of resources.

The forum, which was organised by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, IBIS Ghana, and facilitated by Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), was aimed at seeking inputs and advising on policy framework and legislation to be passed to regulate the management of revenue accrued from mineral resources such as gold and bauxite.

The participants were drawn from the civil society organisations, the Mineral Commission, communities the Trade Union Congress, traditional authorities, the media and opinion leaders.

They argued that, just like the Oil sector that had the Petroleum Management Law, there was also the need for a law to ensure transparent management of minerals resources such as gold and bauxite.

They pointed out that, government claimed that 80 per cent of mineral revenue made by mining companies was paid into the Consolidated Fund, which had no identity, hence does not demonstrate any transparency in the utilisation of such funds.

The Participants advocated the creation of a Mineral Revenue Holding Fund and a formula for distributing mineral revenues between the central government and communities.

The central government, they proposed, should use its share of revenue to set up a Sovereign Mineral Fund, which should be used for annual budget supports, stabilisation of the budget and for future generations.

“A condition should be included that only 60 per cent of the balance standing in the Sovereign Mineral Fund can be transferred to the Annual Budget, while the rest is invested and used in times of revenue shortfalls. In times of revenue shortfalls, the withdrawal from the Sovereign Wealth Fund should not be too much as to affect the liquidity of the Fund and fiscal sustainability”, they stressed.

They stated that the community share of the revenue should be transferred to the Community Mineral Development Fund and deposits and withdrawal rules be defined, and that, any withdrawals should be subject to Parliamentary approval.

The participants suggested that the Bank of Ghana should be given the mandate for the operational management of the Mineral Revenue Holding Fund, and the Sovereign Mineral Fund.

They also stressed that there should not be any borrowing against the Petroleum Holding Fund, the Sovereign Mineral Fund and the Community Mineral Development Fund.

Dr Amin Anta, the Executive Secretary of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, said a lot of countries, including Botswana and Brazil spent a chunk of the revenue generated from their mineral resources on education and that had led to the greater development of those countries.

He indicated that in Ghana, a lot of the decisions on mining were governed by administrative fiat- including the management of the revenue that accrue to the state, which explained why for decades of mining, it was very difficult for the country to point out  the impact of mining particularly in mining communities.GNA

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