Two experts at charitable organisation Oxfam Ghana are proposing the enactment of Mineral Revenue Management Act to guide government on the utilisation of mining revenue and to check graft in the management of mining revenue in the country.
Senior Communications Advisor at Oxfam, Andrew Bogrand, Extractive Industries Programme Manager Francis Agbere, argued such proposed act will help track resources coming from the mining sector to change the fortunes of many mining communities across the country.
The two in an article copied to 3News, observed the government currently “lacks the consolidated framework to transparently collect, manage and share the revenue it raises through fees, taxes and other mining income”.
According to them, the relative success of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act should trigger a similar act in the mining sector. The Petroleum Revenue Management Act, they noted has improved capital investments of oil revenues in the country.
“Against this backdrop, it is certain that a similar law for mining – Mineral Revenue Management Act,” they proposed.
A drive through cities like Tarkwa, Obuasi and other mining communities in the country reveal heartbreaking picture of underdevelopment despite the vast mineral deposits in those communities.
Though Ghana is ranked the second largest producer of gold in Africa, Bogrand and Agbere contended the mining communities have little to show for the wealth under their feet, a situation that forced some residents of Tarkwa to prevent a minister from entering the town due to their poor roads.
“In as much as the unlawful act of these residents are condemnable, the reality of residents living with notoriously bad roads, social unrest and land degradation is exasperating to say the least,” the stated.
The two said the 485.63 Million cedis (about $100 Million) mining royalties received by government in 2015 were generally used to cover government expenditures as against funding critical infrastructure projects or fuel investments in mining communities.
In their view, a Mineral Revenue Management law will begin to address issues like bad roads, environmental damage, gender inequalities, health risks and rights violations brought on to communities by large-scale mining.
“The act would also create an investment ‘heritage fund’ so that all Ghanaians might reap the benefits of mining well after the resource is depleted,” Bogrand and Agbere said.
Again, stressing the need for such Mineral Revenue Management Act, the two said it will afford civil society groups, individuals and Ghanaians in general, the opportunity to monitor what they are reaping from the many years of mining.