PDr Steve Manteaw, the Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), at the weekend urged the government to take advantage of the initiative to enhance the country’s international image.
He cited countries like Liberia and Nigeria, which had taken advantage of the initiative to promote their national image with the tendency to attract more foreign direct investment.
Dr Manteaw said this during a workshop for journalists on the 2016 Mining and Oil/Gas Reports, organised by the German Development Corporation (GIZ), in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists, to assist them to better understand the report to accurately inform the larger populace.
Being the Chairman of the Public Interest Accountability Committee, Dr Manteaw said it was important for government to appreciate the level of impact the GHEITI had had on the country.
He said through the efforts of the initiative, there had been wide ranging reforms in the mining sector including increasing corporate income taxes from 25 to 35 per cent, which had led to more revenue for the country.
“We also discovered, through the GHEITI, that the companies were shortchanging us. We used to have a royalty rate of three to six per cent but consistently, over the years, the companies were paying the minimum,” he added.
GHEITI recommended the need to move away from that range to the rate of five per cent, which was adhered to, resulting in more revenue to the state, he said.
Dr Manteaw said GHEITI realised that some players had not adhered to the payment of the five per cent royalty, therefore, recommending to the Government for renegotiation of the stability agreement with those defaulting companies.
He said the Government had shown some level of commitment by appointing Dr Mohammed Amin adam, the deputy minister of energy, as the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) champion for Ghana but more needed to be done.
Dr Manteaw said Ghana failed to achieve full compliance in the latest EITI ranking and urged Ghana to show serious concern for the initiative.
The government would need to back the principle of transparency and accountability with legislations to compel the companies to release data for the reconciliation reports to enable the country to meet the international standards, he said.
Dr Manteaw said countries like Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone had legislation backing the activities of EITI.
The workshop saw representation from key stakeholder institutions such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana National Petroleum Authority, the Petroleum Commission, and the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands. GNA