A new law is to compel mining companies in the country to disclose the terms of their contracts to the general public as part of efforts to ensure transparency in the disbursement and management of revenues from mineral resources.
It is expected that the disclosure will help inform the public about revenue issues in the minerals sector, especially on how much the companies are paying government for what; what goes into the determination of that cost; how revenues from contracts are shared; when and how the contract in question can be terminated.
The initiative, the first of its kind in the country, is being championed by the Ghana office of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global body fighting for transparency in the extractive industry.
The Co-ordinator of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Mr Franklin Ashiadey, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that the law was expected to come into effect in the first quarter of next year.
He added that the provision on the disclosure of mining contracts by the companies was part of the proposed legislation on EITI that GHEITI was pushing.
Mr Ashiadey made the disclosure in an interview after he and other members of the GHEITI board briefed a visiting team from the EITI global office on how the country was progressing in the area.
The delegation, led by Mr Olivier Bovet, a board member of the EITI, will be in the country from October 13 to 15, within which they are expected to hold discussions with officials of the ministries of Finance, Lands and Natural Resources and Petroleum and Energy, as well as some civil society organisations.
Speaking to the paper after the briefing, Mr Ashiadey said access to relevant and timely information on the operations of companies in the extractive industry had been the bane of the initiative’s operations.
“Most of the companies are always not willing to disclose the information and this delays our reports. To overcome this challenge, we decided to come out with a legislation that will force them to open up to us,” Mr Ashiadey said, adding that the legislation would also force the mining companies to disclose the terms of their contracts to the public and us in particular.”
A Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, said the country was committed to ensuring transparency in the extractive industry and therefore called on the EITI and CSOs to join in the fight against non-disclosures in the sector.
“For us in Ghana, EITI is not a fanciful exercise to please development partners but a deeply thought-out exercise meant to enhance the development outcomes of mineral resources in this country,” the deputy minister, who is also the NDC Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, said.
Dignitaries at the programme included the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Inusah Fuseni and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr Tony Aubyn.
Source: Daily Graphic
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