Dr Steve Manteaw, co-chair of Ghana?s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) has suggested that Ghana should explore the possibility of receiving royalties or her stake in kind and not cash as has been done all these years for the state to maximize the revenue generated from extractive companies especially those in Mining.
He says experience has shown that receiving Ghana?s stake in kind as done in oil and gas sector will be beneficial to the state, whether the mining companies ploughed back profits, or made some new investments for which reason Ghana?s stake cannot be paid.
For instance, Gold which can be sold to the local market could generate jobs should be taken from mining companies instead of cash he added. Dr Manteaw made the call at a three ?day workshop for selected members of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) in Elmina over the weekend.
On the theme ? interrogating the 2012/13 EITI reports on Mining, he urged Ghana?s tax officials that the time to pass the windfall tax laws that was put on hold is now, if even are left on the books until such time when companies are making extra profit government can then invoke them. He said even though currently the 16 mining companies might not be making profits now nevertheless, a profit windfall period will surely come if the current fall in oil price is anything to go by he forecasted.
The Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) seeks to improve developments outcomes from the benefits payments made by mining companies to governments. Thus the initiative aims at enhancing transparency in the payments, receipts, disbursements and utilization of these benefits. The latest report captures 16 Mining companies mostly in Gold, Manganese and Limestone for the year 2012/13.
Educating the reporters on his topic ?Concepts and Principles and the impact of the GHEITI on the policy so far?, the vociferous Public Agenda Editor disclosed that there were a number of outstanding Policy reforms in the pipelines that needed initiations on the part of government and implementations agencies aimed at enhancing revenue collection. The workshop, the second since the beginning of the year, sponsored by GIZ in cooperation with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) andIFEJ, is geared towards capacity building for IFEJ members on good governance in the extractive sector across Africa. The collaboration also seeks to deepen media coverage on resource governance issues and increase advocacy.
Concluding the Editor urged the Secretariat to conduct a cost benefit analysis of the mining activities in the country. He disclosed that in one of the sessions, panelists were confronted with people who suffered skin diseases as a result of mining and so the discussing should now be focused on the social cost of mining. He said ?we are told of the revenues but not being told about the social cost on the people and environment.
Responding Franklin Ashaidey, Coordinator GHEITI assured that Ghana is committed to ensuring that the cost benefit analysis to ensure that the social cost of the natural resources extraction on the ordinary people in whose environment these activities are taking place is carried out to evaluate its impact. He mentioned Akcoben strategy that captures mining companies attitude towards the environment in their operations.
Source : Seibik Bugri.