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General News Sun, 4 Jun 2006

No segregation in revenue disbursement- Dept. Minister

Tarkwa (W/R), June 4-GNA- Mrs Rita Tani Iddi, Deputy Minister of Lands Forestry and Mines, has said it was impossible for government to segregate revenue it receives and disburses to benefit only the sector that generates it.

She said what is needed is rather a system, which ensures that government revenue is equitably disbursed through the Ministry of Finance Economic Planning (MOFEP).

Mrs. Iddi said the Financial system MOFEP operates demands that revenue accruing to government be lodged into consolidated fund from where disbursement follows rigorous procedure that are administered by MOFEP. She stared this at a workshop on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) held at Tarkwa at the weekend. It was under the theme: " Our Mineral, Wealth, Equal Stake And Transparency for All". Organised and sponsored by MOFEP, Ministry of Lands Forestry and Mines, Minerals Commission and Chamber of Mines, the Workshop brought together Traditional rulers, District Chief Executives (DCEs) and Presiding Members of various District Assemblies in the Western Region. EITI is a voluntary initiative, supported by a coalition of companies, governments, investors and civil society organizations. Mrs. Iddi said owing principally to the stable political climate in the country, the general improvement in the economy and specific interventions made in the mining sector, the country has realized a vibrant mining sector in the past two decades. She said investment in the sector has been impressive, saying, between 1990 and 2003, investment inflow into the mining sector by mining and prospecting companies amounted to approximately four point three billion United States dollars.

She said in 1984, Ghana had only four gold mines, which together produced 282,299 ounces of gold, adding by 2004, twelve gold mines were in operation and together produced, 2,029,970 ounces of gold. Mrs. Iddi said one significant recent achievement in the mining sector is the passage of a new Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703 which is explicit on the compensation of a lawful occupier or owner, of a land subject to mineral right includes deprivation of use of land and not only for the destruction of crops and landed property.

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She said changes have been undertaken to improve on transparency in the mineral rights administration and to reduce conflict arriving because of non-payment of lands annexed for mining purposes. Mrs. Iddi said, " it is clear that Ghana is operating with systems that are transparent and all embracing and adoption of EITI is therefore to re-emphasize her Good Governance principles".

She said government is committed to the principles of EITI and called on all stakeholders, mining companies, civil society, Non-Governmental Organizations and mining communities to team up with the government to ensure a successful implementation of the EITI process.

Mr. Sulemanu Koney, a representative of Ghana Chamber of Mines, speaking on a topic "Contributions by Mining Companies To Host Communities-The Issues", said there are no visible manifestations of the use of mineral royalties in the mining communities. He said the Chamber of Mines would like to plough back more royalties into the system but the challenges it is facing is what has been done with the little that was sent.

The Chiefs expressed concern about the delay in the payment of royalties and were also not happy about prospecting which often takes place on their lands without being informed.

Source: GNA
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