A lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, has advocated the review of the law establishing the Minerals Commission (MC).
The review should aim at limiting the mandate of the commission on the regulatory aspect of the industry, while giving the promotional mandate to a different institution, Dr Abdul-Gafaru said.
That, he said, would ensure that “the commission keeps a closer eye on mining companies that do not operate within their ambits.”
Dr Abdulai told the Graphic Business in Accra that limiting the role of the MC to only regulations would erase the perception that the commission was in bed with mining companies. That perception, he said, was fuelled by the MC’s willingness to promote the businesses of the companies instead of punishing them whenever they were found on the wrong side of the law.
New body for promotion
Explaining further, Dr Abdul-Gafaru said it was long overdue for the country to create a new body to look at the promotional aspect of the mining industry.
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“We should learn from how the Petroleum Commission was created to be the regulator of the petroleum industry and the Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation asked to see to the promotional side,” he noted.
The establishment of the new body, he said, would give the country the opportunity to review some of the laws in the mining industry for the benefits from mining to be enormous.
“How can you have a commission that is required to promote a business and also see to the regulation of that same business?” he asked.
Case for illegal miners
On illegal mining, Dr Abdul-Gafaru said the practice was a livelihood matter that needed to be addressed from that perspective.
“If we agree that this is a livelihood issue, then one way of addressing it is to make sure the communities grab greater benefit and that is the more reason why I have concerns in terms of the manner in which mining revenues are being disbursed currently. We just treat it as part of the larger government revenue so we have no idea on the exact benefits derived from the revenue”, he noted.
Explaining further, he said there had been cases in other countries where illegal miners were put into cooperatives and trained on the dangers of their activities and how they could practise safe mining. “This way, the country benefits from their activities,” he added.