Panellists at a roundtable discussion on how to develop mining communities have called for the disbursement of royalties at the local level to ensure the socio-economic development of the communities.
This, according to them, would ensure prudence in the interest of the beneficiaries.
Contributing to the discussion, Dr Steve Manteaw of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) stressed the need to reintegrate mining into the local economy to support the cause of addressing challenges that confronted mining communities.
He urged the government to align mining to its flagship programmes like the One District One Factory in order to absorb excess labour.
“Over the period, that this country has been mining, the industry has become an enclave we do not add value to what we produce in terms of extraction, so we have lost the opportunity to create additional jobs around the mine,” he emphasised.
Dr Manteaw advocated the need for local authorities in mining communities to be innovative in the utilisation of royalties to enhance development in the area.
Mr Andrew Barnes, Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, in his remarks said the Australian government was committed to contributing towards improving efficiency of mineral rights administration, revenue mobilisation and royalties in Ghana.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, on his part, said the passage of Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Act 912 by government in 2016 had helped address challenges in the sector.
He said government by the third quarter of 2020 would complete all nine legacy projects and funds freed for future oriented development in mining communities.
He said a survey was ongoing to identify more alternative complementary livelihood interventions for mining communities such as the oil palm processing plants, agricultural equipment leasing services, small cargo transport service to farmers, among others.
The day’s event was organised by the Australian High Commission in Ghana in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact Studies.
It drew participants from government institutions, civil society organisations and representatives from various mining industries and communities across the country.
Other panellists were Messrs Dr Noriss Hammah, MDF Secretariat, Bash Mohammed Addul-Razak, Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Emmanuel Baidoo, AngloGold Ashanti Ghana and Stephen Ndese, Perseus Mining Ghana.
BY ALLIA NOSHIE