Regulations to guide the implementation of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Act are being developed to ensure smooth operationalisation of the Fund.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, who disclosed this in Accra yesterday, said that processes towards building consensus and charting a roadmap for the development of the regulations were currently ongoing.
He stated that although the MDF was actively in operation, the absence of regulations for the MDF Act has been a major challenge for its successful operation.
The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of the maiden 11-member Board of the MDF.
Chaired by Esther Happy Edjeani, other members include Professor Patrick K. Agbesinyale, Addae Antwi-Boasiako, Daud Sulemana Mahama, Christina E. Bobobee, Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, Eva Peace Mends, Fredua Agyeman, Frank A.N. Sofo and Ellen Ama Daaku.
The MDF Act, according to Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, was to provide sustainable funding streams for the operations of the Fund which was established through administrative fiat and executive instruments and was subsequently subjected to discretional release and disbursement of funds.
He tasked the Board to explore financial market investment options for the proper management of the fund as the 20 per cent allocation from the mineral royalties was inadequate for the execution of all the projects to be undertaken by the Fund.
Additionally, they were also to address the communication gap between the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) and the Assemblies on their budget ceiling and estimates which adversely affects planning, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the fund, the Minister indicated.
In order to ensure effective disbursement of funds, he asked the Board to develop disbursement guidelines to facilitate development planning and management by the local management committee under the Mining Community Development Scheme among others.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh reiterated the Ministry’s support to the MFD adding that “together we will succeed in our efforts to support initiatives and interventions aimed at improving the mining sector.”
On behalf of the other Board members, Madam Edjeani expressed gratitude to the government for the opportunity to work towards building local content capacity and community development in mining areas.
She explained that the MDF was integral in the fight against illegal mining and as such must be operationalised to meet the expectations of mining communities and enhance development.
In the interim, she said the Board would review all projects which have been commenced by the MDF Secretariat to ensure effective utilisation of the Fund.
“We aim to work so that the MDF Fund is used in creating wealth in mining communities and support the mining sub-sector,” Madam Edjeani stated.
The Fund was enshrined in law by the Minerals Development Fund, Act 912, 2016, which provided financial resources for the direct benefit of mining communities.
Under the Section 6 of the Act, the Fund is to be supervised by a Board comprising of the Chief Director of the MLNR, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Administrator Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL), one representative each of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGD), a representative of the Chamber of Mines and the National House of Chiefs among others.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS