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Policy to mainstream women in extractives finalised

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi

A ROADMAP and policy to mainstream gender into the governance of the extractives sector has been finalised by the Ghana Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (GhEITI).

It forms part of a grand move to promote equal participation of women in the mostly male dominated sector.

The EITI is a global standard to promote transparency and accountability in the generation and use of extractive sector revenues.

The co-chair of the GhEITI, Dr Steve Manteaw, said the move by Ghana to develop a gender strategy for EITI implementation was in compliance with the new EITI standard adopted at the 2019 Paris conference, which include provisions on gender for first times and aim to improve the participation of women in the management of the extractives sector.

Speaking during a technical committee workshop to discuss the 2019 GhEITI Report for Mining and Oil and Gas,’ he said there was a recognition that even women tended to be impacted by the sector as they might need to walk long distances to their farms and in search of water for household chores in times of relocation.

However, their needs were not prioritised when decisions such as how to manage revenues were being taken.

“The benefits of resource extraction accrue largely to the government and a lot of the time women are missing around the major decisions. In fact, they do not even get the opportunity to participate in that discussion in terms of even trying to influence decisions around expenditures in a way that supports their livelihoods.”

“Therefore, all EITI implementing countries are required under the new standard to mainstream gender into the extractive sector and that should begin from the policy level to decision making around the use of extractive sector revenues,” he said.

Experts have said that ensuring equal participation in decision making and tracking female employment in the extractive sector was central to understanding the benefits of the sector.

GhEITI reports

The objectives of GHEITI reports were to create the required public awareness, generate interest and debate on the issues raised in the reports and pave the way for stakeholder’s engagements on the reports as required by the EITI standard.

It is also to check disbursements and utilisation of mineral royalty/ground rent and utilise lessons learnt from the reconciliation exercise to enhance transparency in payments, receipts, disbursements and utilisation.

The latest report cited some concerns among which is the delay in allocation of mineral royalty to district assemblies by the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) and inconsistencies in the government’s declaration of gold exports and what is reported by gold receiving countries.

The development, Dr Manteaw said had defeated the purpose of the establishment of the Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIF) to help guide the management of mining revenue for over a century.

He said it had failed to resolve the challenge.

“We have lived recklessly and spent almost everything that we earn from gold, so on the day when the gold is completely exhausted, we will have nothing to live on in the years ahead and that is not the way to manage mineral resources,” he said.

According to him, all such things have denied the country the full benefits of gold as a natural resource.

“Going forward, we have learned some lessons and we try to correct them in the way we have designed the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA),” he said.