The Ghana of Chamber of Mines has called on the government to effectively implement the Minerals Development Fund Act which was passed by Parliament to help ensure that mining communities benefit from operations of mining companies sited in their community.
Several news publications and articles have largely blamed mining companies and industry players for the low level of development in mining areas.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Mr. Sulemanu Koney, successive governments have not done enough to ensure the development of communities with deposits of natural resources.
The Chief Executive Officer who made this statement when some executives of the Chamber paid a courtesy call on the Eastern Regional Minister Eric Kwakye Darfour, argued strongly that members of the Chamber regularly pay their revenues and royalties timely and promptly, which goes straight to the central government.
He stated that the government is supposed to use the revenue accrued to undertake developmental projects in the mining communities.
“The physical benefits of mining actually goes to the center. The laws governing mining indicates that the resources belong to the good people of the country whether you are in Bongo, Accra or wherever in the country and the resources are in Akyem it belongs to everyone and because of that when taxes and various levies and royalties are paid they are not left in the communities but they go to the center,” he said.
“Through the advocacy of the Chamber for so long about two years ago a law was passed covering the administrative way through which the disbursement of the royalties to the communities but the structures through which the law will be enforced is not there. The law required we set up a Board at the National level and committees at the local level but these things have not been done after two years.”
Mr Koney, continued, “I keep asking myself where is the money because mining companies pay their levies. It’s hurting to mining companies when people visit mining communities and complain they do not see anything there. Mining is practically the most regulated industry in the country because they meet their obligations on a regular basis so we should ask government what those monies are used for.”
Sulemanu Koney then pleaded with the Minister to use his high office to advocate for the release of funds meant for developmental projects in mining communities to the district assemblies to undertake the planned projects for the communities to reap the benefits.
“If we really want to see development in the mining communities then we have to fully implement the law to the letter. We should have committed and competent people around the Board to think and decide what we can use those monies for. The monies should not be sitting in Accra, government should release the money to the districts on a regular basis for effective planning and implementation because we cannot continue in the same way if we want to see change.”