Experts have urged economics and financial journalists to intensify their watchdog role on minerals revenue management to ensure its adequate and efficient utilisation, especially for the hosting communities.
Although, policies exist, there are still huge gaps in the revenue mobilisation for development in the mining sector, which calls for an intense attention on the sector to drive growth.
Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, the Executive Director of the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA) and Mr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea, a Tax Consultant with Ali-Nakyea and Associates, made the call at a two-day workshop for journalists at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The workshop organised by the Institute for Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) was to build understanding of journalists on mining revenue management.
Mr Kuyole, taking the 30 participants on the first day, indicated that the mining sector had since inception, contributed enormously to the economy and therefore the need to pay special attention to it.
Between 2011 and 2016, the Prestea Huni-Valley District, Mpohor Wassa East District and Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal had received a total of GH¢ 20.39 million as Mineral Development Fund (MDF) allocations to the districts.
He said, if the country desired to make a lot of gains from the mining sector for growth, there was the need to seal all the revenue leakages in the sector and that all stakeholders have some critical roles to play in achieving that.
He said for every mineral found within the country, government was entitled to generate revenue through royalties, rents, taxes, dividends, bonuses, as well as payment in kind despites other indirect benefits like roads and bridges.
He described the sector as a comprehensive one and therefore demanded a lot of attention from all stakeholders to ensure maximum benefits for the country. The comprehensiveness, Mr Kuyole described as coming from the stage of exploring for the resources and the decision to whether extract or not.
It then continues with getting a good deal, managing the revenues and investing for sustainable development.He said all the stages involved required experts’ knowledge to ensure that the discovery of the mineral resource did more good than harm for the nation.
Mr Kuyole introduced participants to the concept of political tripod to the governance framework for the sector thus, the needs for rules, institutions and citizen understanding to properly govern the sector. He said the country had done well with regulations and setting up of institutions but citizens understanding was lacking, allowing mining companies and government to take undue advantage of the revenue realised from the sector over the years.
He said it was therefore relevant that journalists and Civil Society to continuously educate and inform the citizenry on their role in making the sector bring benefit to the entire country. Mr Ali-Nakyea urged participant to be keen on addressing the revenue leakages in the mining sector through understanding and asking the questions that would make revenue managers responsible.
He took participants through the principles of a good revenue management and the revenue sharing formula under the MDF Law, 2016 (Act 912). He said every activity associated with mining needed to operate under law and therefore the need to continuously push for the good policies adding that, “there cannot be a good law without a good policy.
It is therefore significant for journalists, reporting on the extractives to acquaint themselves with the legal frameworks in the sector to ensure effectiveness in the playing the watchdog roles.