01November2014

Articles

Law to Disclose Contracts, Revenues from Extracting Sector in the Offing

Ghana is to enact a law to back the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to make it obligatory for the government to disclose information on contracts and revenues accrued from the extractive sector, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kweku Rickets-Hagan has said.

"There is no doubt that Ghana has found great value in its implementation of the EITI and has therefore found it necessary to ensure its sustainability by backing it with a legislation,’’ he stated.

Mr Rickets-Hagan who disclosed this at a briefing for some  board members of the International EITI, who are on a visit to the country, in Accra, said the move was to further  deepen the transparency and accountability  regime  which had characterised the country’s extractive sector.

The International EITI board is on a two-day visit to Ghana, as part of their board meeting to be held in Cote d’ Ivoire, to discuss  challenges and opportunities in the extractive sector and also dilate on issues arising from the new EITI standards adopted in May  last year at a conference in Sydney in Australia.

Ghana signed on to the EITI, a global initiative to promote good governance, transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in 2003 and subsequently government annually publish its own report dubbed Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative on the extractive sector.

Mr Rickets-Hagan  said the country’s natural  resources if managed properly could accelerate  the development of the country,  saying  many resource-rich countries including Ghana had benefited less from the extractive sector largely because the  country continued to rely on exported raw commodities.

He said the adoption of the EITI had been a good omen to the country as it promotes transparency and accountability in the natural resource sector.

To further demonstrate government commitment to promote good governance in the natural resource sector, Mr Rickets-Hagan said the government in 2010 extended the EITI to the oil and gas sector.

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in his remarks said government would  continue to push for the reforms that seek to ensure that, extractive sector revenues are utilised in the most efficient and effective manner with accountability being the guiding principle.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr Toni Aubynn in his address, said the accolades that Ghana’s EITI had achieved had been largely on the back of the mining industry.

He called for the establishment of a Minerals Revenue Management framework that ensures that mineral revenues are managed along the lines of the provisions of the Petroleum Management Act, Act 815.

‘’Given that revenues from the mining sector flowed from a finite resource, it is prudent the state sets some  aside a portion for  rainy day,’’ he stated, adding that ‘’It is our considered opinion that such a legislation will enhance transparency in the management of mineral revenue for the benefit of the good people of Ghana and generations yet unborn.’’

Dr Aubynn also supported calls for studies of cost-benefit-analysis of mining to the country. Eddie Rich, the Deputy Head and Regional Director for Africa and Middle East of the EITI International Secretariat, commended Ghana for adapting to the EITI.

He said he was impressed about the structures the country had put in place to promote the initiative and also actively engaging the civil society in the governance of the country’s natural resources.

Source: Ghanaian Times