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Government to halt smuggling of gold in diplomatic bags – Minister

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John Peter Amewu

Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has disclosed that the Government would soon recruit companies to undertake operational and fiscal audits of the mining value chain to generate revenue for the country.

He said the move had become necessary because Ghana was suspected to be losing huge sums of money from the mining outputs through smuggling of gold in diplomatic bags and under-declaration of costs and tax after profits by some multinational companies.

He said companies from the United States, Australia and Israel had shown interest and government would soon recruit them to undertake auditing of the mining sector.

Mr Amewu made this known when two ministers from Denmark; Mr Kaister Laontzer, the Minister of Taxation, and Madam Ulla Tornos, the Minister of Development Co-operation, paid a working visit to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra, on Tuesday.

The meeting is aimed at enhancing the bilateral co-operation between the two countries that would be mutually beneficial.

Mr Amewu said for instance, some multinational mining firms undertake transfer-pricing where they jumped from one country to another looking for treaty-shopping, which enabled them to escape payment of taxes to the natural-rich resource host countries.

Treaty-shopping is the practice of structuring a multinational business to take advantage of more favourable tax treaties available in certain jurisdictions or countries.

Mr Amewu said: “Though we may have the legal framework on paper, some of those multinational companies are clever and have the technical and legal competencies that played around the tax regime and avoid paying the required taxes to the detriment of the host countries”.

In that regard, he said, government had decided to critically examine the value chain of the natural resource exploitation, especially the downstream linkages, and strategise the best option to reap the maximum benefit.

He said government had rolled out the National Supply Development Programme, which was a conscious effort to addressing the concerns of all the suppliers along the downstream sections of the mining sector so that the country would reap the needed benefit.

“The programme is in collaboration with the African Mining Development Centre, which is an aspect of the African Mining Vision to ensure that African countries benefit from their natural resources.

“The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government, for instance, is determined to ensuring that bauxite is refined here under the Integrated Aluminium Industry instead of exporting them raw,” he said. 

Mr Amewu said government had instituted measures to enter into downstream activities in the extractive sector that would fetch the country additional revenues.

He said it had also instituted measures to increase tax collection and add value to the natural resources so as to ramp up the required income for the nation. 

“I think exporting the mineral resources in their raw state has not been a blessing to Ghana, considering the level of depletion of the resources in relation to the benefit accrued to the nation,” he said.

Mr Amewu said Ghana had a long-standing bilateral co-operation with Denmark and would work to ensure the relationship mutually benefitted both countries.

Madam Ulla Tornos, the Danish Minister of Development Co-operation, said Denmark, through the Danish International Development Agency, had implemented a number of development projects in Ghana.

She said the Danish Government was in the process of improving the co-operation from aid to trade, adding that Denmark would re-structure its payment of taxes to Ghana, especially in the area of natural resources.

Source: GNA

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