Minister calls for accountability in extractive industry

Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister has called for concerted efforts to make the revenue generated at the extractive sector accountable to the people.

He said the revenue must be used efficiently and judiciously to collectively bring to the people the much desired development outcome they have always dreamt of.

This was contained in a speech read on his behalf at Tarkwa on Friday at a day’s workshop organised by the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) to disseminate the findings and recommendations of the 2009 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) reports.

He said it is time for citizens living in mining communities to start taking the published findings of EITI reports seriously and use them as the basis to demand accountable governance from the managers of those resources.

“The extension of EITI to the oil sector by government demonstrates government’s commitment to promote transparency, accountability and good governance in the natural resources,” he added.

He said his office will put in place robust regulatory framework that would reflect global good practice and local concerns that promotes stability, confidence and consensus.

Mr Aidoo said the Regional Co-ordinating Council would work with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to strengthen the public finance management system, adding that government has adopted composite budgeting process to roll out fiscal decentralisation as indicated by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the 2012 budget.

He said the MMDAs would be empowered with the additional responsibility of managing local resources and to ensure sustainable development in their areas.

The Regional Minister pointed out that permanent solutions need to be made towards the lapses reported year after year in the various audit reports.

He promised to work closely with the Assemblies to ensure that they have the requisite capacity and logistics to efficiently manage resources entrusted to them.

Mr Franklin Ashiadey, National Co-ordinator for GHEITI said since his outfit started producing EITI reports in 2004 his team has always be in Tarkwa to share its findings because the town is the hub of mining activity in the country.

He said EITI is an international initiative between government, companies and civil society groups that seeks to promote the principles of transparency and accountability in the payments and receipts of financial resources from the extractive industries.

Mr Ashiadey said their reports are achieved by regular publication, reconciliation and audit of all material benefit received by government from extractive companies in the mining sector.

Presenting the 7th audit report conducted among 10 mining companies selected from the Western, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions, Mr Kwaku Boa-Apomsem, GHEITI Aggregator said all mining companies paid their three per cent royalties as well as their property rates.

He said the area that they detected problems in their significant findings included disbursement omission, co-operate tax, discordance between head office and regional Office of Administration of Stool Land (OASL) and Mineral Development fund.

Mr Boa-Apomsen said in their finding they noted some regional OASL did not release funds to the district assemblies in tandem with release from the head office.

The Aggregator recommended in it reports to the regional OASL offices to pay promptly all amounts due to the district assembly.

Source: GNA

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