Regional News of Thursday, 7 February 2013
Some Civil Society Organizations have called on government to as a matter of urgency review the Minerals and Mining Act because the Act is disadvantageous to the country.
The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), West Africa Coalition Against Mining (WACAM), Ibis Ghana and the Community Mining Advocacy Committee(C-MACs) said the Minerals and Mining Act 2006(Act 703) as it stands now provides incentives to mining investors and denies government the opportunity to accrue enough revenue from the mining sector.
The organisations made the suggestion at Tongo during a forum organised by NORPRA and sponsored by Ibis Ghana and Strengthening Transparency, Accountability, Responsiveness in Ghana (STAR –Ghana).
They said mineral ore reserves in Ghana are about one trillion ounces with a face value of about $350 billion and had the potential of improving the economy if operations are conducted in a responsible manner.
They cited for instance that in 2010 mining contributed only 6 per cent to GDP and accounted for about 49 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and that combined mining and the petroleum sectors contributed only 8.7 per cent to GDP in 2010.
This, they said, was inadequate and blamed the situation on the generous incentives government grants to mining investors at the expense of the populace.
Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the Associate Executive Director of WACAM who facilitated the forum, said incentives granted to the foreign mining companies only served to attract them to deplete the country’s mineral resources at a fast rate.
She said granting mining companies the right to transfer almost all earnings on minerals into offshore accounts was inappropriate and that it denies the country capital for economic growth and development.
“In a bid to ensure retention of capital in the country, it is proposed that the percentage of earnings that could be kept offshore should not be above 50 percent”, she said.