Mr Kwaku Asoma-Cheremeh, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has tasked the newly inaugurated board members of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) to explore other financial market investment to provide sustainable development for mining communities.
The Minerals Development Fund Act, 2016 (Act 912) currently receives only 20 per cent of the mineral royalties, which is woefully inadequate to implement its lofty ideas and plans.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the MDF board in Accra, on Thursday, Mr Asoma-Cheremeh entreated them to work assiduously to improve the funding sources of the Fund by exploring other avenues to improve on its fortunes to expedite the development of mining communities.
The eleven-member board, chaired by Madam Esther Happy Edjeani, a retired educationist and a nominee by the President, is to provide leadership and policy direction for successful management of the Fund.
The Minister, who administered the Oath of Office, Secrecy and Allegiance, urged the board to support the efforts towards designing of Regulations to guide the implementation of the Fund.
He enumerated some challenges the Fund Secretariat is facing, noting that some projects being pursued by the Secretariat had stalled due to the absence of guidelines for operationalisation of the Fund, and urged them to work hard to find solutions to them.
Mr Asoma-Cheremeh pledged his unflinching support to the new board and, thus, expressed optimism that they would enjoy the cooperation and support of all other stakeholders in executing their mandate.
The Minister acknowledged the incalculable support of all officers including his predecessor, Mr john Peter Amewu, Parliamentary Select Committee, legal experts, consultants, heads of departments and agencies for facilitating the development and approval of the MDF Act.
Madam Edjeani, on behalf of her colleagues, expressed her profound appreciation for the confidence reposed in them and assured that they would provide leadership and strategic direction towards the management of the Fund to meet the high expectations of all stakeholders.
She expressed the conviction that the diverse knowledge and expertise available to them, they would make the right decision to accomplish the government’s ambition of moving the country beyond aid.
Other members of the board include; Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, Chief Director of the Lands and Natural Resource Ministry, Mr Addae Antwi-Boasiako, Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Mr Daud Sulemana Mahama, Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Mr Kwame Addo-Kuffour, President of Chamber of Mines and Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII, Vice President of the National House of Chiefs.
The membership of the board is drawn from ministries and agencies, including; the Finance, Lands and Natural Resources, Local Government and Rural Development, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Minerals Commission, Lands Commission and Chamber of Mines as well as a traditional ruler from a mining community nominated by the National House of Chiefs and one other person, who is a woman, nominated by the sector Minister.