Citizens advised to read GHEITI reports to hold duty-bearers accountable

Dr Steve Manteaw, a policy analyst and Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), has called on the public to read the GHIETI reports and demand accountability from duty bearers on the use of revenue from extracted resources.

He said this would enable them obtain information on how government manages extractive revenues and provide incentives for the citizens to demand accountability from those with the power to manage these revenues.

He said this during a workshop held in Tamale for the engagement of northern belt stakeholders on the 2015/2016 GHEITI Reports for the Mining and Oil/Gas Sectors, Ghana Commodity Trading Pilot Report and Ghana’s Beneficial Ownership Disclosure (BOD).

The workshop, the two-day event, was organised by the GHEITI and supported by the Ministry of Finance in partnership with Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG).

It was attended by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance, GOGIG, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Civil Society Organisations  (CSOs), district assemblies, traditional leaders, the media and other stakeholders.

Dr Manteaw said the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) sought to address issues of under development, conflicts and deprivation in natural resource-dependent countries by ensuring transparency and accountability in the generation and use of extractive revenues.

He said Ghana’s objective for acceding to the EITI initiative was to enhance the development outcomes of resource extraction.

Dr Manteaw, however, said the GHEITI’s delay in the 2015/2016 report produced in 2018, of which Ghana came to a close to being suspended from the global level, was due to the changes in government and non disbursement of donor funding leading to slip in EITI reporting.

He urged the media to take interest in the report and consistently name and shame duty bearers who flaunt on their responsibilities and demand that the government acts on them.

He said the state accountability institutions like Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCOG), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) should also take interest in the report to investigate on the issues that lie at the heart of the report and if possible prosecute guilty persons or institutions  and bring them to court to answer for their actions and inactions through which this country had lost money.

Mr Samuel Osei Bekoe, Accountability Work Stream Lead of the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), said GOGIG was there to ensure that government effectively manages it’s oil and gas resources by putting in place adequate policies to ensure the proper governance of the sector.

He said extractive resources have historically been a major contributor to the country’s economy and for the commodities trading pilot reports.

Mr Bekoe said though the oil and gas was still considered a new sector, it has contributed significantly to employment by way of job creation and also contributed to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

He said the extractive sector remains a significant sector of Ghana’s economy with the increasing prices in crude oil and also contributed to improving other sectors including health, education, and also infrastructure needed in the districts and communities.

Mr Bekoe said to ensure that the growth of the sector translates into the lifestyle of citizens and stakeholders need ensure that policies put in place in the extractive sector were actually effectively implemented by duty bearers.

He, however, urged that going forward GHEITI should review their reports to ensure that they were released on time to meet current and existing discussions on public discourses.

Mr Kojo Asafo-Aidoo, a Senior Consultant at Boas and Associates in a presentation on the findings and recommendations of the 2015 and 2016 GHEITI reports on Mining and Oil and Gas, said in the mining sector, mineral royalties increased to 13 per cent between 2015 and 2016 from GH¢ 479,296,718.78 in 2015 to 539,690,722.00 in 2016 which could be attributed to the increase in the volume and prices of mineral produced particularly gold.

He said the average realised price increased by 10 per cent to settle at US $1,280.00 per fine ounces, whiles the volume exported also increased by 39.2 per cent to 3,843,446 fine ounces resulting to an increase in gold production by 17 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015.

Mr Asafo-Aidoo said corporate tax receipts increased from GH¢ 340,506,461.76 in 2015 to GH¢ 409,083,749 with five participating companies namely Anglogold (Induapriem) Ltd, Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd, Chirano Gold Mine Ltd, Ghana Manganese Ltd and West African Quarries paid corporate tax in 2016 where as three companies reported loses namely Golden Star Resources Ltd, Golden Star Resources (Wassa) Ltd and Perseus Ltd.

He said capital allowances granted ranged from US$ 10,154,914.44 (GH¢ 39,705,715.46) to US$ 104,908,000.00 (GH¢ 410,190,230.00) with mineral rights and other fee and licences  increasing from GH8,316,863.00 to GH¢333,682,422 at an increasing of 75 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015.

Mr Asafo-Aidoo said in 2015 some revenue streams from GRA were in aggregated formats and were excluded in determining materiality thresholds or report entities and recommended that GRA’s data base should be designed to provide information in disaggregated format and also for specific sectors of the economy, i.e. the extractive sector.

He said this would enable GRA’s effective analysis of revenue obtained by government.

Mr Asafo-Aidoo said the Ministry of Lands And Natural Resources as a policy does not publicly disclose executed contracts and recommended that for the purpose of transparency the MSG engages the ministry on issues of public disclosure of contracts on it’s or GHEITI website .

Speaking on the Oil and gas sector, he said as at December 2015 a total amount of US$ 69.61 million was outstanding to be paid into the Petroleum Holding Fund of which US$ 68.96 million was due from Ghana Gas Company Limited and the GEITI recommended that all funds assessed as due to Petroleum Fund be promptly collected and any late payment should attract interest as stipulated by section 3(4) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA)

He said as at the end of 2016 ten (10) companies were in default of the surface rental payments amounting to  GH¢ 181,152,708.00 or US$ 1,548,592.00 and recommended that the GRA pursue these defaulters for their settlement resulting from these outstanding surface rental payments.

Source: GNA

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