Ghana Mineworkers’ Union lauds government’s bold introduction of windfall tax on mining companies

The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union (GMWU) has commended government for introducing a windfall profit tax on mining companies as contained in the 2012 budget, saying the Union hopes it (government) will be resolute in its successful implementation.

In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday, GMWU, an affiliate of the Ghana Trades Union, said such a step by the Government was bold because it would enhance the revenue base of the country.

Mr Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary of the GMWU, who signed the statement, said Government also deserved to be commended for the upward review of the corporate tax for mining companies from 25 to 35 per cent.

“In the view of the GMWU, the windfall profit tax and the revised corporate tax clearly demonstrate government’s bold resolve to generate enough revenue from the mining sector for our country’s development goals,” he said.

It should be recalled that the GMWU at its 10th Quadrennial Delegates conference in August this year among other critical issues urged the Government to impose a windfall profit tax following the rising price of gold on the international market.

Mr Ankrah said, the prompt response by government in introducing the windfall profit tax, showed its willingness to take on board suggestions from all sections of the public, adding “To the GMWU, this is a culture that should be nurtured to enhance democratic governance and accelerated national development.”

He said the GMWU believes that unlike the case of South Africa, United States of America and Australia, Ghana lost out in the era of the gold rush and therefore it was fair and prudent for her to effect such changes in its revenue mobilization drive.

“It is the position of the GMWU that while pursuing these policies, government should be firm and demand that players in the mining industry must be honest and come clean when making their case about the cost implications and the impact on their operations.

“This will prevent the situation where multinational mining companies tend to make huge profits at the expense of Ghana’s overall development agenda,” Mr Ankrah stated.

The GMWU called for an engagement process aimed at increasing government’s stake in various mining companies to begin.

It said, the acknowledgement in the 2012 budget that mining was one of the leading sectors in the country, yet its economic and social benefits had not met the country’s expectation was indeed factual.

“This means drastic measures will be required to change this sad state of affairs. Again government representatives on Boards of mining companies must place the national interest first and therefore demand valid financial information and open book policy in line with ethical means of doing business in the 21st Century.”

Another critical area in the 2012 budget which the leadership of the GMWU has taken note of, the statement said, was the provision on Young Graduates Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative.

This initiative, it said, needed the support of all Ghanaians, because the issue of unemployment was scary and should be handled through pragmatic programmes like the establishment of the initiative.

“It is reassuring that the proposed Centre will help facilitate business startups, finance, business ideas, evaluation monitoring and business development,” the GMWU said in the statement.

It said the GMWU hoped this time round, tackling infrastructural deficit in the mining communities would receive top priority, especially as the focus of the 2012 Budget is geared towards infrastructure development.

The GMWU also urged all political stakeholders, especially Members of Parliament to constructively discuss the budget in the interest of the nation.

Source: GNA

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