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Dr Steve Manteaw, Co-chairperson of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), says chiefs who receive mining royalties must account to their people on the utilization of such revenues.
He said, over the years, chiefs have not been accountable and transparent to the people on how they used their share of the mining royalties.
Dr Manteaw said this at the sidelines of the Regional Consultative Stakeholders Meeting held in Takoradi recently, to review the GHEITI reports.
He said although the portion of the mining revenues that went to the chiefs must be used for the maintenance of the chieftaincy institution in keeping with its status, the chiefs had interpreted it as not requiring them to do any development projects for their communities, but rather to pay for their retinues, maintenance of their palaces and buy regalia and therefore owned nobody explanation on the utilization of the royalties.
Dr Manteaw said such interpretation was wrong, because even if the chieftaincy institution had used the royalties for the aforementioned purposes, they must still account to the people, saying “traditionally, our chiefs are supposed to account to their people during occasions like festivals and community durbars”.
He said it has come to the threshold where the people must impress upon their chiefs to account to them, in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Answering a question regarding the need for the mining companies to utilize the mining revenues themselves to develop their host communities, Dr Manteaw said, the mining companies were not development agents, but were obliged to pay royalties and corporate taxes to the government.
He in this regard, he said, the district assemblies that received the mining revenues are mandated to undertake such development projects and other essential services to the people.
For instance, mining allocations to the assemblies must not be used for recurrent expenditure items but rather used for capital projects so that the host communities would witness their real benefits, he said.
Dr Manteaw said guidelines had been outlined for the use of mining royalties therefore they must enforce their implementation, adding that the “Government must provide detailed information on the utilization of mining revenues in the annual budget by segregating each mining company’s contribution towards the development of the nation”.
He said it was imperative for Government to liaise with other relevant stakeholders, to select priority areas which the mining revenues should be expended just like what pertains in the petroleum revenues so that the people would see tangible projects.
He said even the petroleum revenues which had priority areas, there were challenges because according to him, a recent trip by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee to the three northern regions revealed that projects which monies had been released for their implementation were non-existent.
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