The Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) will soon be backed by law to enforce strict compliance by companies operating in the country’s extractive sector, says Franklin Ashiadey, GHEITI’s National Coordinator.
Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of a three-day workshop at Elmina in the Central Region for some members of parliament to discuss GHIETI’s work and the way forward for the initiative, he said a bill — which is in the drafting stage — has been proposed to ensure that government and companies engaged in the extractive industry disclose their payments and revenue data without hesitation.
“This law is to institutionalise the EITI and ensure that it is protected, as has been done by other member-countries. We are currently meeting stakeholders to solicit inputs into the bill,” he said.
When the bill is passed, Ghana will join other countries; such as Nigeria, Liberia and Azerbaijan which have backed their EITI by law in order to remove all legal obstacles to the smooth implem’eritatiob of the initiative.
The Extractive, Industries Transparency Initiative is a global coalition of governments, extractive companies and, civil societies working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources.
The initiative uses a flexible yet robust methodology to address specific country challenges related to effective management of natural’ resources. Ghana signed onto the initiative in 2003 as an early-bird member.
Mr. Ashiadey said the country has achieved some remarkable results over the decade regarding transparency and payment of taxes and royalties by mining companies, and recently companies in the oil and gas industry.
“Before Ghana signed onto the EITI, there was a lot of mistrust and tension between companies, communities, government and civil society on how revenues are used. GHEITI has been able to pool together the stakeholders through roundtable discussions to promote transparent disclosure of revenues so that the public can hold companies and government accountable.
“Through advocacy and stakeholder deliberations, royalties have, been moved to 5 percent. from the previous -3 percent, while . the corporate tax has also been reviewed to 35 percent.”
Mr. Ashiadey said significant reforms in the oil and gas sector, such as the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, were informed by GHEITI to ensure rigorous reporting to aid ` transparency and accountability.
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