Artisanal mining group complains about high fees

Mining1The Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN),  has criticized government for the increases in small-scale mining fees and charges.

A statement issued to the Ghana News Agency by Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, Executive Director of ASMAN, said some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) resorted to the increase, and the introduction of new fees annually, in order to generate funds to run their institutions.

He alleged that only Parliament had the authority to approve fees and charges, but some MDAs had illegally arrogated that authority to themselves and were charging fees without following the laid down procedures.

He cited the case of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC) which had increased its fees by 500% from GH¢300 to GH¢1,500, without going through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) and Parliament for approval.

“While ASMAN views this as an illegal act, the rate of the increment is also too high,” he said, adding that this could lead to an increase in illegal buying and selling of gold, since most of these operated in rural and remote areas.

Mr Mensah also bemoaned the increasing ‘dollarization’ of the fees and charges contrary to the laws and directives of the Bank of Ghana, against pricing local services in foreign currency.

“With the passage of the Amendment Instrument, 2014 (L.I 2216) by Parliament, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) got increment in its fees and charges. The fee for small-scale mines rose from GH¢750 to GH¢8,400, an equivalent of 2,100 dollars,” he stated.

He said the 1,120% increase in the fees for an Environmental Permit could be a disincentive for people to acquire the necessary permits and licenses to carry out their mining operations, which were already highly informal and difficult to regulate.

Mr Mensah stressed the need for the inconsistencies in the fees and charges to be streamlined.

ASMAN further called for stakeholders’ engagements by the MoFEP during fee reviews,  in order to avert rapid increases and blanket approvals for high increments, and for the suspension of the imposed fees and charges for review.

Source: GNA

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