Civil society in Ghana has called for a review of the country?s laws on mining dividends and royalties.
Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr. Steve Manteaw, told Xinhua in an interview the practice had led to the situation where some mining firms either under-declared or failed to declare dividends, thereby depriving the country of revenue.
Ghana has a carried interest of 10 percent in all mining operations of the country, according to the Mining and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
Manteaw, who is also chairman of the civil society platform on oil and gas, therefore called for a shift from receiving dividends and royalty payments in cash.
?It is for these reasons that some of us are arguing that, may be, Ghana needs to consider moving away from receiving its share of royalty and dividends in cash.
?You see, in the oil and gas sector, royalties, income tax, everything is computed and received in terms of barrels of oil and if we were to do that for the mining sector, I think that we will ensure that at least Ghana receives something for its interest in the mining operations.?
He explained that demanding dividends and royalty payments paid in kind would have several advantages for the country.
Ghana?s law on mineral dividend and royalty payment allows companies to take their share of the royalty, export them on behalf of the state and pay to it whatever its share is in local currency.
Meanwhile, Ghana?s legislative body is currently considering a new Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Bill.
The focus of the bill, if approved, is expected to engender transparency and accountability in the exploitation of the country?s natural resources.
A private legal practitioner and lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) School of Law, Tuinese Edward Amuzu, expressed contrary opinion to the call by the civil society group.
?Well, it may be a useful idea for us as a country led by government to consider taking our share of the natural resources exploited in kind; however we need to bear in mind that that will come with a lot of work.
?The infrastructure to take whatever natural resources that is being exploited has to be developed and you know we have different kinds of natural resources so it?s not going to be that easy as taking cash.?
The West African country is endowed with abundant natural resources including gold, bauxite, diamond, manganese, forest products and in recent times, oil and gas.
However, there have been several complaints from civil society on revenue generated by the country and how it has been put to use. Enditem