Government frowns on abuse of royalties – Minister

Mr Henry Ford Kamel, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, at the weekend spoke against the misapplication of proceeds from royalties paid through the extraction of natural resources.

He said as a result, government was fine-tuning a legislation and policy guidelines to make the payment of royalties devoid of abuse.

Mr Kamel was speaking at the inauguration of the Volta Forest Products Limited (VFP) Mobile Clinic, under the auspices of CareNet Ghana, a Hohoe-based development-oriented non-governmental organisation.

An initial amount of GH¢40,000 has been expended on the project expected to bring healthcare delivery to the doorstep of communities in Hohoe Municipality, Jasikan, Kadjebi and Biakoye districts.

Mr Kamel, also Member of Parliament for Buem in the Volta Region said government would review the payment of the royalties and publish the proceeds in the media to inject transparency into the process.

He said currently royalties were proportioned in percentages with 55 per cent going to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, 25 per cent to Stools and 20 per cent to the traditional areas.

Mr Kamel said government was charting a roadmap towards reversing the dwindling fortunes of forests cover, which had nosedived to 1.4 million hectares from 8.4 million hectares from the beginning of the century.

He called on chiefs, communities, schools and other identifiable groups to help rejuvenate the environment by planting more trees.

Mr Joseph Z. Amenowode, Regional Minister gave the assurance that government would not renege on its responsibilities to the people and asked the people to lend their support to facilitate accelerated development.

He commended the partnership between VFP and CareNet Ghana, which he said aimed at complementing efforts of government in bringing healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the vulnerable and the deprived.

Mr Amenowode entreated the people to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme to derive the many affordable benefits it entailed.

Mr Thomas Amewu-Duglu, Administrative Manager of VFP, Hohoe-based manufacturers of plywood said the Mobile Clinic concept was the corporate social responsibility of the company to communities in its area of operation.

He said the company had planned to donate computers to educational institutions, replant 160 hectares of degraded forest, construct access roads and award scholarship to students.

VFP also intends to plant a million seedlings of various tree species in its catchment area.

Mr Amewu-Duglu said 1,000 youth have been directly and indirectly employed by the company.

He said increasing tariffs, low voltage and frequent power outages were major threats to the success of the factory.

Mr Patrick Ahumah-Ocansey, Executive Director of CareNet Ghana said the Mobile Clinic was to provide prompt diagnostics, treatment and referrals to clients in inaccessible and deprived communities, who lack the financial wherewithal to seek and fund their healthcare services.

He said the motivation for the clinic stemmed from the yawning gap between medical staff and patient ratio.

Nana Kumessy Bonsy, Jasikan District Chief Executive on behalf of beneficiary districts pledged their co-operation and that of stakeholders towards the realisation of the objectives of the project.

Nana Akwasi Oprah Akuamoah VIII, Nifahene of Buem, who presided, described the initiative as visionary and pledged the support of the chiefs for the success of the good course.

About 100 patients mainly women and children benefited from the maiden health outreach which included free treatment of diseases and provision of drugs.

Doctors from the Cuban Medical Brigade who conducted the outreach identified anaemia as the prevalent cases diagnosed.

Source: GNA

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