The Ghana National Coalition on Mining,(NCOM) has advised parliament to reject the Tax Concession Agreement (TCA) and the Development Agreement(DA) between the government of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti which have been submitted for consideration.
A statement signed by Dr Yao Graham , Executive Director of NCOM, sent to Parliament indicated that the two Agreements in their present forms should be rejected and the Executives invited to take steps to revise them.
“The principal ground for recommending the rejection of the two agreements is that the key elements, notably, the fiscal concessions in the TCA which are stabilized under the DA are illegal on two main grounds.
These are that the legal authority to make fiscal concessions to a holder of a mining lease are those set out under section 48 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The only fiscal concessions that can be made under that provision are to freeze (stabilise) current fiscal obligations”.
“The law does not give the Minister the power to waive or reduce fiscal oblligations. Besides, Parliament does not have the power on its own motion to waive or vary taxes. Under Article 174 (2) of the Constitution .it can do so only by approving the exercise of a power to waive or vary taxes by a person or authority vested with the legal power to do so,” the statement stressed.
The statement by NCOP also analyses and makes proposals on the fiscal concessions, Local content, Community Development of Obuasi and its environs, Labour and the training of Ghanaians
The scope of the confidentiality clause in the DA , Environmental Protection General Policy issues arising from the two Agreements, includes proposals to amend Sections 48 and 49 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the need to improve policy coherence and quality of stakeholder engagement in Government decision making.
He said the reasons for the submission of the memorandum to the Joint Committee on Mines and Energy and Finance of Parliament on the Development and Tax Concession Agreements between the Government of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) are based on the provisions of the 1992 Constitution; the terms of the national Minerals and Mining Policy (2014) as well as the 2011 ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy (EMDP) , the agenda of the 2009 Africa s Mining Vision of the African Union, and the stance of the current government on the role mineral resources should play in Ghana’s development and transformation as well as he the grim symbolism of Obuasi town and its environs as a testament to the history of value extraction by foreign investors without local development benefit.
The NCOM is a grouping of community-based organisations in mining areas, NGOs and individuals working for policies and practices which ensure that the exploitation of Ghana’s mineral resources contribute to integrated national development and transformation whilst respecting human rights, community livelihoods and environmental sustainability.
By Adu Koranteng