BY ROSEMOND BOATENG ADDAI
EXPERTS HAVE advised the government to focus on opportunities that the mining sector presents to the economy and develop them.
According to them, not only will the mining sector generate revenue from taxes but also with a careful look at the leakages between the extractives in the case of mining and other sectors of the economy.
According to Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, the Executive Director of the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), there is a challenge in effectively managing social and environmental space in the extractive industry, especially the mining sector, which has led to galamsey.
He explained that the authorities could take advantage of the interest in small-scale mining to make it impact positively, adding that the biggest challenge is the inability to manage the small-scale mining sector.
“I think the current approach of using the military, for me, is a fire-fighting approach and that is not going to yield so much,” he said.
Mr Kuyole, in an interview after addressing members of Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) at a workshop in Koforidua in the Eastern Region organised in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), said the country’s environment is very important and so when signing agreements, the authorities should ensure that they would not give away too much at the expense of the country.
He suggested that the authorities in the communities in which the companies mined should consider the fact that the social and mental environment take precedent over everything in order for better development in the community.
“We need to have an initiative such as community development schemes and also investment in mining is a priority,” Mr Kuyole said.
“We must not hesitate in the step to increase the amount of money going to the mining communities but also make sure that even what is allocated is sent and once it is sent we should follow and make sure that they are use for important project that will bring improvement in the lives of residents in the communities.”
He explained that the authorities needed to invest so much in terms of geographical service in order for the state to be able to provide enough data for the country to be in a more superior position with data regarding the mineral potential areas in the country.
The expert advised that when the companies come with whatever they find from their exploration, the country would be in a better position to be able to negotiate with them better.
Advantage of 1D1F at mining communities
Mr Kuyole revealed that apart from taxes that the mining companies paid, they spent a lot of money in procurement services based on so many things.
He said it was a good opportunity for the government to use the One-District-One Factory policy to take advantage of some of the projects in the mining communities where the companies already had resources but required certain services and there was also an already market and demand for the project.
“It is one of the surest ways to ensure that it creates jobs and also business opportunities for people living in the mining areas,” Mr Kuyole said.
Violations of laws
The expert pointed out that the authorities in the extractive industry deliberately or for unexplained reasons violated their own laws without being punished.
He gave a typical example of some of the legislation which was not followed to the letter.
“The Mineral Development Funds (MDF) Act which was passed in 2016 to ensure that we are able to administer the position of the mining revenue which will go to mining communities we consistently violates those laws,” Mr Kuyole said.
“First of all there are no regulations for the law even though the law requires that after one year, they should be regulating, but there is no board.”
He said the 20% MDF for community development supposed to be sent to the mining communities had not been sent.
“There are years, since 2011, consistently when no disbursements have been made. For example, 2013 to 2015 and 2017 and 2018. What is happening is even worse. The Ministry of Finance has decided to apply the capping law to the MDF and cap it to 12 .5% instead of 20% and even the 12.5% they are not disbursing everything,” he pointed out.