Dr. Kwabcna Donkor, Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, has noted that the achievement of greater transparency in the mineral sector must reflect respect of natural and mineral resources laws.
Addressing a one-day Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) sensitisation and dissemination workshop at Elmina in the Central Region, he expressed concern that some foreign miners are operating in the country without licence.
The workshop was organised by GHEITI and the National Steering Committee and was sponsored by the German development agency, GIZ. It was attended by Parliamentary Select Committee members of Mines, Energy, Finance and Public Accounts to inform them about activities of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and how they influence national and international affairs.
The EITI was established in 2002 and Ghana became one of the early members to sign onto the initiative.
EITI is a global coalition of governments, extractive companies and civil society organisations working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources.
It also ensures transparency in how a country’s natural resources are governed.
Dr. Donkor said it is about time the nation begins to add value to its natural resources, explaining that for the past 100 years the country has exported raw gold. He said about 20 percent of the nation’s cocoa is semi-processed, which is not helping the manufacturing industries to grow and create more job avenues.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in a speech read on his behalf underscored the immense contribution of the mining sector to revenue and the economy.
He said in 2012 the sector contributed 27 percent of the nation’s total revenue —42 percent of total merchandise exports and six percent of Gross Domestic Product.
Alhaji Fuseini said for the first time in many decades, corporate tax receipts exceeded royalty payment in 2011 while large-scale mining and the mine support services sub-sector employed about 27,000 people — with an estimated one million people engaged in the small-scale production of gold, diamonds, sand-winning, quarry and salt industries.
He said total foreign direct investment into the mining sector from 1983 to 2012 amounted to 12.5 billion dollars.
AIIhaji Fuseini said transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources are expected to underpin a broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development of the country.
Major Mahama Samuel Tara (rtd), Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Chairman of EITI said the initiative has enormous potentials for improving the development outcomes from the management and utilisation of extractive sector revenue.
He said the EITI has also helped_ to erase the mistrust and tension that often characterise the relationship among key stakeholders in the extractive sector.
He said to facilitate EITI reporting as well as to institutionalise the Initiative, it is imperative for the nation to back it.
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