The extractive sector if well managed can continue to serve as a major source of funding for government programmes, the Africa Programme Officer of Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Denis Gyeyir, has said.
According to him, the country’s economic challenges and revenue underperformance were likely to persist if the government in the 2023 budget did not take some tough decisions to ramp up revenue and cut wasteful expenditures.
Mr Gyeyir stated this in Accra last Tuesday during a media dialogue by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) in collaboration with some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
The programme was to deliberate on the current economic challenges facing the country and provide recommendations for the 2023 budget.
Mr Gyeyir said, if the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) is uncapped and disbursements to the fund were prioritised, it would help propel development at the sub-national level as envisioned by the MDF Act.
He said MDF was established to provide financial resources for the benefit of mining communities and institutions with the responsibility to develop the mining sector.
“Before the fund could be properly set up to perform its functions, it was captured under the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 to be capped at 25 per cent of tax revenues but historically the MDF disbursements have been slow showing it impacting negatively on development of mining communities,” he said.
Mr Gyeyir said the government should diversify into clean energy by investing in renewable energy development to facilitate renewable energy development.
“Prioritise investment in clean and renewable energy as part of the selection of new priority areas for Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) spending in line with trends in energy transition,” he said.
Also, he said, there was the need to establish a resource database and an effective governance regime of critical minerals in Ghana as a way of attracting investment into the sector.
“Resources needs to be allocated to the Geological Survey Authority in 2023 to be able to establish the full extent of these minerals for strategic investment. Critical minerals are essential drivers of the energy transition, these minerals serve as inputs for battery production for the storage of energy, Electric Vehicle (EV) production, and for advancing development of solar, wind, wave, and other forms of renewable energy,” he added.
The Programmes Officer of NRGI said, the criticality of those minerals depended on the country’s priorities, technological advances and the availability of the non-fuel mineral resources in commercial quantities in a given country.