Saturday, 20 March 2021

Ghanaians to enjoy the fruit of mining

 



Adnan Adams Mohammed


Government has affirmed its commitment to making mining more beneficial to the country.


It said this will be achieved by  improving transparency and accountability in the exploitation of the natural resources and instituting policies that will continuously enhance the transformation of the mining sector into the catalyst for industrial transformation of the country as envisioned by the current government. 


This was made known at a two-day virtual national dialogue on extractive governance organized by NRGI, in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) and the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), 


The Lands And Natural Resources ministry indicated that the commitment of the Government is to institute good policy measures to confront the challenges facing the sector through the formulation of various policies and laws for the sector some of which has been promulgated already. 


"The need to formulate inclusive development-oriented policies, legislation and other aspects of a conducive environment for the sector, which will not only maximize the benefits derived from our resource extraction but stimulate broad-based growth beyond securing optimal rents (royalties, taxes, shares and other revenues) and also ensure equitable allocation of benefits spatially, across sectors as well as inter-generationally", Ben Aryee read on behalf of the Minister For Lands And Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor, MP.


Currently, Government policies for the sector have been consolidated, with some key objectives outlined to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable and inclusive development. 


These include: The amendment of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) to introduce deterrent sanctions for illegal small scale mining; Introducing regulations for tracking the use of earthmoving equipment like excavators in the mining sector; Passing Local Content Regulations; and Ongoing policy discussion for mining companies to devote part of their gold produced locally to support the development local refineries.


Also among them are: a designated government assaying body to assay all gold export; the establishment of the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) to promote and optimize value development along the whole supply chain of our bauxite and iron ore resources; and the Planned national dialogue on small scale mining.


The focus is geared to, among others: promote local content and local participation; Diversify the country’s minerals production base; ensure beneficiation and value addition of minerals mined; and optimise tax revenue generation and ensure transparent and equitable distribution of mineral wealth.


Others are: Promote and strengthen regulation of the small scale mining sector to provide livelihood opportunities for our locals; Improve the transparency of the rent and taxes regimes of the sector; use mining as a catalyst for industrial transformation; and generate adequate geo-scientific data to promote investment.


The overarching goals of these policies are to ensure that mining contributes to broad base growth and development of our people. Although a number of these policies have been implemented through the enactment of specific laws and regulations to enable their implementation, major challenges still face the sector in terms of how to adequately implement these policies  effectively and enforce the various laws and regulations governing the sector.


"It is worthy of mention that as the sector evolves, Government has had to deal with evolving challenges and, therefore, needed to amend and improve upon our policies and laws. 

The small scale sector illustrates this; where the past policy direction was to make the sector indigenous through creating viable jobs internally and halting smuggling of gold to neighbouring countries, among others. While the policy objective was positive, it limited the possibilities for resourcing the sub-sector to grow. Over time, therefore, Government has recognized the need to develop more comprehensive strategies and laws to accommodate evolving positive trends while dealing with the immerging challenges being faced by the artisanal small scale mining sector."


"As polices and laws are implemented, gaps versus overlaps will be identified while there will be lessons of obsolescence versus opportunities for improvement. Policy implementers, while keeping a focus on their goals and objectives, would nonetheless need to keep an open mind to be able to accommodate the lessons and improve upon their setting and environment, and even sometime adjust the objectives. This clearly is sometimes a thin line to walk and needs cool heads."

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