Parliamentary committee raises issues over proposed Steel Corp.

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
The Corporation will oversee the development of the iron and steel industry in Ghana.
The Corporation will oversee the development of the iron and steel industry in Ghana.

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy has advised the government to ensure that the mandate of the proposed Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation does not conflict with that of the Minerals Commission as provided under Article 269 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

The committee raised issues over the inclusion of ‘iron’ which was a mineral in its raw form and, therefore, fell under the mandate of the Minerals Commission.

It, therefore, advised that the role of the proposed corporation should be restricted to the promotion of the commercial aspect of the industry and not the unprocessed mineral.

This was contained in the committee’s report on the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation Bill, 2019, which seeks to establish a corporation that will develop and promote an integrated iron and steel industry.

Functions of the proposed corporation

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The corporation will be required to collaborate with investors for the development of the integrated iron industry, ensure the development and implementation of a local content policy across a value chain in the industry and also ensure that the minimum total equity held by the State and the Ghanaian private sector in any joint venture in the industry is not less than 30 per cent of the total equity.

The corporation will also be empowered to enter into joint venture operations, ensure that minimum part of the equity as may be determined by law is held by the Ghanaian private sector and in collaboration with relevant government agencies.

It is also expected to establish a mechanism to ensure the requisite transfer of skills and know-how to Ghanaians in the iron and steel industry value chain.

Governing board

The governing board of the corporation will consist of 11 members, which will include the chairperson, the chief executive officer, a representative each from the Minerals Commission, the Association of Ghana Industries and the integrated iron and steel industry.

Also included in the membership will be representatives from the Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, and Ministry of Finance.

The representatives from the ministries should not be below the rank of director.

Other members will be two other persons who will be nominated by the President, at least one of whom must be a woman.

Functions of the board

The board will be mandated to ensure the proper and effective performance of the functions of the corporation and formulate policies for the effective implementation of the object of the corporation.

Other functions of the board will be to oversee the sound and proper management of the integrated iron and steel industry and to ensure that the corporation conducts its affairs in accordance with sound business and industry principles and prudent commercial practices.

Special power purchase rates

The committee, in its observations, also noted that purchase of power at the prevailing price in the country would make the iron and steel industry economically unviable and globally uncompetitive.

The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, however explained to the committee that the government was making arrangements to secure special power purchase rates from the Volta River Authority or the national grid at a price not exceeding 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

He said the potential revenue loss from the tariff reduction was expected to be recouped by the social and economic benefits of the industry.