POLICY Analyst at Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Dr Steve Manteaw, has called on the government of Ghana to pursue measures to effectively implement provisions and concepts in the existing Africa Mining Vision (AMV) to help safeguard minerals and mining revenues, thereby fostering proper transparency and accountability in the extractive industry of the country.
According to him, he has observed with great concern the continuous inability of the central government to make serious efforts to implement the vision, hence his call on the government to enforce the principles, concepts and procedures in the AMV in order to ensure transparent and equitable distribution of minerals and mining wealth and contribute to infrastructure development in mining affected communities in Ghana.
Dr Manteaw, who triples as the Chairman of Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and Co-Chair of Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), explained that the AMV was conceived as an appropriate response to the governance and management challenges that African countries face in transforming their economies, using natural mineral resources as a catalyst.
Addressing journalists at a media workshop organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines in Accra on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, Dr Manteaw noted that the vision document was a set of principles developed under the auspices and political guidance of the African Union (AU) and was based on best practices and lessons from the continent’s decades of natural mineral resource extraction.
He asserted that the African Union requires natural mineral resource-dependent member states of the AU to articulate their respective national visions of what role they expect their mineral resources to play in their economies and the expected contributions of mining to their national development agenda.
He stressed that the essence of the ANV is to afford AU member states the opportunity to fashion out strategies to interrogate the current status, and integrate their natural resources into the rest of the national economy and through that, make that critical, sustainable paradigm shift from the enclave nature of resource extraction.
He indicated that the AMV was founded on the following fundamental pillars including optimising knowledge and benefits of finite natural mineral resources at all levels of mining and for all minerals; harnessing the potential of small scale mining to improve rural livelihoods and integration into the rural and national economy.
He noted that the vision also fostered sustainable development principles based on environmentally and socially responsible mining, which was safe and include communities and all other stakeholders; building human and institutional capacities towards a knowledge economy that supports innovation, research and development.
Additionally, he mentioned that the vision was aimed at developing a diversified and globally competitive African mineral industry which contributes to broad economic and social growth through the creation of economic linkages; and fostering a transparent and accountable mineral sector in which resource rents were optimised and utilised to promote broad economic and social development.
Dr Manteaw contended that the vision further was to promote good governance of the natural mineral sector in which communities and citizens participate in mineral assets and in which there was equity in the distribution of benefits.
In this regard, he noted that it must be apparent by now, that developing a framework to manage and utilise natural mineral revenues was not only fashionable but a prudent and necessary thing to do.
According to PIAC chairman, although there had been several international efforts at addressing the problem, including the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (EITI), the Natural Resource Charter International Monetary Fund (IMF) guide on Resource Revenue Transparency and Africa Mining Vision, Ghana has developed such a fiscal framework for its petroleum sector but failed to do same for its minerals and mining sector.
He stressed that there was, however, a policy intent to do same for minerals and mining.
This policy, if designed and implemented effectively by government, he said, would go a long way to promote linkages (backward, forward and side stream to minerals produced locally to the maximum extent possible.
The formulation of the policy, he added, would also help the country to generate adequate geo-scientific data to promote investment; generate detailed geological information in designated areas for demarcation to artisanal and small-scale miners as well as provide opportunities for artisanal and small-scale miners to access financing to upscale their activities.
The policy would further help the country to enhance capacity of state institutions and strengthen inter agency collaboration in the management and development of mineral resources, optimise tax revenue generation and ensure transparent and equitable distribution of mineral wealth, contribute to infrastructure development in mining areas, ensure high level environmental stewardship in the exploitation and use of minerals and promote social harmony between the mines and adjoining communities.
He advised that both hydrocarbons and minerals revenues ought to be managed differently from other state revenues.
“If these natural resources have so much in common, then certainly it does not make economic sense to create different nomenclatures to manage their revenues.
“It is more prudent to pool these revenues and to develop a single resource revenue management framework, that will receive these revenues and manage them as presently done for oil and gas alone…it will mean creating a stabilisation fund, future generation fund; agreeing on how much to spend, how much to save, how much to return to host communities, how much to spend on state equity participation,” Dr Manteaw stated.
Currently, he noted that the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Act 2016, (Act 912), which was enacted by Parliament in 2016 to raise revenue from mineral royalties to support the development efforts of mining affected communities represents the country’s only framework for mineral revenue distribution.
According to him, it was, however, not all encompassing; saying that it deals with only 20 per cent of total revenues.
He stated that to develop a common framework for managing mineral revenues, whether separately or together with oil and gas revenues, will require harmonising the provisions under the Minerals Development Fund Act with the new framework, and repealing the current law.
To realise the needed development in affected mining communities, Dr Manteaw proposed a new Mineral Revenue Management Law to ensure proper transparency and accountability in the minerals and mining sector.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
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