SOME PROMINENT paramount chiefs in the country, whose lands are mined for gold, are angry because royalties due their traditional councils and other bodies for developmental purposes have not been paid by government for two years now.
They have consequently tasked government to immediately release the funds which had been in arrears for two years running, to enable these mining areas to embark on developmental programmes and projects which would positively affect the lives of their people.
The paramount chiefs lamented that government?s failure to settle the debt during the past two years was making their arrears where gold is mined, to retarded in growth, as no meaningful projects are being experienced in their localities.
The Municipal and District Assemblies within mining areas, the traditional councils and owners of stool lands, benefit from the mineral royalties to provide bursaries to deserving students, award teachers and run the secretariats of traditional and divisional councils.
The agitated traditional leaders were drawn from the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions of the country. They have decided to form a coalition so that together, they could with one voice call on government to release the funds due them.
Speaking at a press conference in Kumasi, Baffuor Aboagye Agyeman II, Kontihene of Adanse Fomena, who spoke on behalf of the chiefs, said the traditional leaders of the affected areas were not happy about the non-payment of the mining royalties due them for two years.
?As we speak at this forum the payment of mineral royalties to the institutions mentioned herein in arrears for almost two years now though the mining companies have dutifully paid up the royalties due from them to the Ghana Revenue Authority.?
The traditional leader bemoaned that the chiefs? frustration had even been heightened by the fact that the mining companies had duly paid the amounts: ?We know that the companies are not in arrears of the payment of royalties due from their operations.?
He said government only ceded 10% of all royalties collected from mining companies to the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands for disbursement to municipal assemblies within mining areas, the traditional councils and the owners of stool lands.
Baffuor Agyeman II said one-tenth of the mineral royalties was also ceded to the Administrator of Stool Lands for its administrative expenses, but to the horror of the traditional councils, what was due them was not being paid by government.
He suspected the delay in the payment of monies due to the traditional councils was being caused by the fact that ?monies paid by the companies are paid into the consolidated fund instead of an account in the name of the traditional areas of the office of the administrator of stool lands.?
Baffuor Agyeman II therefore appealed to government and other stakeholders involved to expedite action so that the two-year mining arrears would be paid to them.
Among the chiefs present at the press conference were Odeneho Nsiah Ababio, Kenyase Number 2 Chief; Nana Opoku Ababio, Bekwai Adontenhene and Nana Kwamena Damoah III, Wassa Fiase Traditional Area.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi