Mr William Buah, Professor of Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, had underscored the importance of the mining industry as the foremost source of revenue generation to national economic development.
Delivering the second public lecture in Accra to mark the 90th anniversary celebration of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Prof. Buah said the mining industry’s contribution to national development can be seen in national revenue generation, corporate social investment and sustainable alternative livelihood programmes.
The lecture was on the theme: “A Responsible and Sustainable Mining Industry, a Partner for National Development.”
Citing statistics from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Prof. Buah said the minerals and mining sector in 2017 contributed overall total mining fiscal of GH¢ 2.16 billion, an increase of 31 per cent over GH¢ 1.65 billion in 2016.
“The industry’s fiscal contributions to Direct Domestic Tax Revenue from 2011 to 2017 have been consistent,” adding that, corporate income tax receipts had also been on the rise while mineral royalty revenue grew from GH¢550.7 million to GH¢702.4 million over the same period.
On exports, Prof Buah stated that gold exports increased from 3.84 million ounces in 2016 to 4.61 million ounces in 2017 on account of a rise in the output of large-scale producers, increase in volume of gold exported by Licensed Gold Exporting Companies, and exports of manganese.
Bauxite also expanded from 1.14 million tonnes to 1.47 million tonnes over the same period, he stated.
“It has also emerged that the Minerals and mining sector is the leading source of foreign exchange for the country from the export of commodities. The share of mineral receipts in total merchandise export in 2017 was 43 per cent, while proceeds from the country’s major export commodities; cocoa and oil, accounted for 19 per cent and approximately 23 per cent of merchandize export revenue in 2017.
In essence, receipts from the export of gold were slightly higher than the sum of receipts of cocoa and oil put together in 2017.”
He added that the mining industry is committed to responsible and sustainable mining practices and therefore is positioned to continuously support national development.
The main objectives of the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes of the industry, Prof Buah said was to support the training and development of local people in engineering, construction, electrical and other technical fields; and to provide support for research and charitable projects that are beneficial to the host communities and the entire nation.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, underscored the need to ring fence revenues accruing to the state out of the exploitation of Minerals and Mining Resources.
This, he said, was important for Ghanaians to properly track the contributions of the sector to the national economy of the country.
He said although the mining sector has significantly contributed to the country’s development over the years, its contribution cannot be properly traced because the revenues mostly end up in the consolidated fund.
He was of the view that ring fencing the mineral revenues is the best way to assess the contribution of the mining sector to the economy where the benefits that have been accruing to the state and the mining communities could be properly evaluated.
Making a strong case for measures to be put in place in order to enhance the transparency and accountability of the country’s natural resources, a Member of Parliament for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem constituency, George Mireku Duker, said that such a move will enable the state to prove to the people the value of mining.