The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA) has commended the Minerals Development Fund Board for the establishment of a Mining Development Scheme in the Talensi district of the Upper East Region.
It also praised the Earl International Limited for honouring its statutory tax obligations and payment of royalties.
The advocacy group said the establishment of the scheme had been at the centre of its project in partnership with the Coalition of Social Movements on Mining in Northern Ghana for the establishment of the Mining Community Development Schemes (MCDS) in all mining communities in Northern Ghana as required by the Minerals Development Fund Act, 2016, Act 912.
“The MCDS which receives funding from royalties, 20 per cent of Minerals Development Fund (MDF) and donations made by mining companies and related business entities would not only significantly promote equitable distribution of mineral wealth but would also facilitate socio-economic development of the mining communities for improved livelihoods,” the Executive Director of NORPRA, BismarkAdongoAyorogo, said in a statement.
According to him, “tax evasion and tax avoidance were common phenomenon to most mining companies and other businesses in the country as the country loses over US$ 2 billion annually to tax evasion.”
In this regard, he, said it was “refreshing” when the Board Chairman of the Minerals Development Fund, KwekuSekyiAddo, reassured that Earl International Ltd had been tax compliant and defaulting ones would be pursued.
These taxes and compensations by mining companies to mining communities, the NORPRA Executive Director said was “not enough to guarantee sustainable livelihoods of persons affected by mining activities”
He, therefore, called on government and the mining companies to invest more in sustainable livelihood programmes in the affected communities for poverty eradication and sustainable development of the communities.
For purposes of promoting transparency and accountability in public resource management, he said NORPRA was going to collaborate with other partners to undertake public “expenditure tracking of the resources in the Mining Community Development Scheme.”
This he said would ensure communities especially women, youth and persons with disability derived maximum benefit from the scheme.
BY TIMES REPORTER