The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has underscored the need for mining contracts between governments and mining multinational companies to be conducted in a spirit of truth and transparency.
That, he said, was to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the benefits for all stakeholders.
The minister advocated that critical issues surrounding the cost of production, fiscal and tax regime as well as other components of the investment environment should be discussed in a frank and open manner to forge a beneficial and sustainable partnership for the investor, government and local communities.
Alhaji Fuseini was contributing to a Commonwealth Mining Network Roundtable in London, UK, organised by the Commonwealth Business Council on the topic: “Making Mining in Africa Work For All.”
Held as part of the “Africa Mining on Top London Summit”, the roundtable explored how governments and the private sector could work together effectively to achieve the shared goals of revenue maximisation and economic empowerment.
The roundtable, which was attended by captains of the mining industry, financiers and mining-related organisations was attended by ministers from Cameroon, Kenya, South Sudan, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana.
The minister explained that the Government of Ghana was committed to ensuring that mining became a blessing and not a curse by integrating the sector fully into the Ghanaian economy with requisite forward and backward linkages, to boost value addition and ensure the fuller participation of local communities in the industry.
To enable the government to maximise returns from corporate taxes and royalties, the minister announced that the government was deepening the fiscal and regulatory regime to ensure that operators made more returns on their investment to attract more mining multinationals into the country.
Alhaji Fuseini indicated that there was a critical need for mining companies to strike a balance between profit maximisation and the development of local communities in a way that would ensure that the economies of such mining communities continued to thrive after the closure of the mine.
He called on mining companies to work harder to secure and maintain their “social licence” not only by honouring royalties and other tax obligations, but should also provide social infrastructure and impart basic skills to local communities through their corporate social responsibility programmes.
“Such programmes will help promote the government’s local content agenda, build the capacity of local communities to support the operations of mining companies and help to manage the expectations of the local communities” the minister said.
The discussion, which also highlighted other pertinent issues impacting on government-investor relationship, observed that concerns over the negative impact of mining on the environment had heightened in recent times in view of the challenges with water availability which was brought about by the growing effects of climate change.
Mining multinationals operating in Africa were, therefore, urged to learn more about requisite mitigation measures of climate change to enable them to respond appropriately to environmental challenges as they would have done in their countries of origin.
The meeting also underscored the need for African governments and regulatory authorities to publish and administer the granting of mining licenses in a clear and transparent manner and desist from the arbitrary withdrawal of such licences. It was also announced that the Mining Model Development Agreement, had been developed as a tool to assist governments to negotiate mining contracts with investors.
Source: Daily Graphic
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