CO-CHAIRMAN of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr Steve Manteaw, has reiterated the call for a comprehensive framework to manage the country’s mineral resources as has been developed for the petroleum sector.
Dr Manteaw said though gold, a mineral resource, has the same volatility effect on the budget as that of petroleum, the country has still not taken the initiative to develop a framework that will help manage the effect.
He was speaking in an interview after a technical workshop to discuss the 2019 GHEITI Reports for mining and oil/gas sectors to build the capacity of the members of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists and some editors on key issues in the report.
Dr Manteaw, who is the representative of the Integrated Social and Development Centre ISODEC on the MSG, said although the country has mined gold for 100 years – half of which was under independent Ghana – she has ended up among highly-indebted poor countries. This state, he said, is an indication of how badly the country has mismanaged its mineral revenues.
He associated some of this mismanagement to the include recklessly living without investing the bulk of the mining revenues in capital projects and infrastructure to ensure that investments return dividends that would have a multiplier effect across the wider economy.
He noted that the bulk of the country’s mineral revenue has gone into recurrent expenditure, treating mineral revenue as income for consumption as against treating it as investible income.
Dr Manteaw added that over the years the country has not paid attention to the intergenerational interest in the mineral resources, saying, “We’ve lived as if the resources belong only to the current generation for which reason we have not left anything for the future generation”.
He debunked the notion that the future generation is today’s children, saying that the future generation refers to the generation that by the time they are born will not bear witness to our gold endowment”.
Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978)
An act of Parliament has enacted the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978) [MIIF Act] to establish a fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies.
It is also to receive mineral royalties and other related income due the nation from mining operations, to provide for the management and investment of the assets of the fund and related matters.
Dr Manteaw said it would have been a wish to deal with the situation through MIIF Act but it does not address that, noting that the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) addresses that challenge in the petroleum sector by setting up the heritage fund, which currently has accumulated about $600million.
He added, the accumulated $600million continues to be invested so that by the time the resources are depleted – the only thing the country has to show – in addition to infrastructure investments from the other funds.
Dr Manteaw said the stabilization in the PRMA was to deal with the volatility effect of petroleum revenues on the budget but there is no framework, not even in the MIIF, to deal with the volatility effect of mineral revenue in our budget.
An Economist and Extractive Governance Expert, Mr Samuel Bokoe urged journalists to make use of the website of governmental agencies that have published a series of reports on their websites as well as some crucial information to make reporting on the extractive sector much easier.
He said stakeholders have pushed for information to be made available on the website of the various government agencies and hence, the need for journalists to make good use of such invaluable information.
Mr Bokoe said some of these websites are that of the Minerals Commission, GHEITI, Ministry of Finance, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ghana National Petroleum Company among many others.
Source: Julius K. SATSI || The Finder