…secretariat set up to efficiently manage Fund
The Lands and Minerals Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has disclosed his ministry has set up the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) secretariat to efficiently manage the Fund.
Amewu hinted a Board will soon be inaugurated to operationalise the Fund.
Reliable sources reveal the inauguration could be by the end of June.
The Minister, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister for Lands and Minerals, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said additionally work is progressing on the drafting of the required regulations.
He assured of government’s commitment to utilising the MDF for community and infrastructural development, as part of the framework for alleviating the sufferings of mining communities and enhancing their standards of living.
The MDF Act, 2016 (Act 912) is to provide the legal basis for the disbursement and management of ceded royalties received by government.
The Fund is expected to provide financial resource for the direct benefit of mining communities, holders of interest in land, as well as traditional and local government authorities within mining areas.
Sources of monies for the Fund, as stipulated in the Act include, 20 per cent of mineral royalties received by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on behalf of the country from mining leases in respect of the mining operations of the holders , monies approved by Parliament, grants, donations, gifts and monies from investment made by the Board of the fund.
Amewu stated that government has developed a roadmap towards the lifting of the ban on small scale mining including measures to continue to curb, if not eliminate illegal mining. The modalities, he said, will soon be made public.
“In the next few weeks the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) will be launched and it is my expectation that the Chamber will continue to support the Project to ensure its successful implementation,” he entreated.
Amewu reassured that government is in the process of instituting policy initiatives aimed at restructuring the mining sector. This forms part of measures to promote the inclusive growth of the sector.
He emphasized that government will pursue the policies in collaboration with the Chamber to optimise the beneficial impacts of the sector.
Outlining the policies to be pursued, he said, there will be a mining audit and security survey of selected mining companies with the aim to design an end-to-end security system to transparently demonstrate the absence of, if not to prevent leakages of mineral revenue to government.
“In addition to boosting transparency in mining revenue, this exercise will demonstrably improve the accountability and credibility of the sector,” he explained
It is expected that government will develop a comprehensive policy and legislative instrument for local content, which will clarify government’s goals and help all stakeholders come on board to forge a mutually-agreed course of action.
Amewu reiterated that there will be an institutional restructuring of the Minerals Commission.
This is to improve the efficiency of the mineral administration process, in general and also strengthen monitoring of the small scale sector.
He indicated that the MMIP is the government’s broad-based approach to managing the small scale mining sector.
By Joshua W. Amlanu