The co-chairman of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr Steve Manteaw is urging government to amend the Minerals and Mining Act to help address the challenges in the extractive sector.
According to him, extractive companies in Ghana were taking advantage of the legal lapse in the sector by not complying with the payment of the 10 per cent carried interest to the government.
He says only two companies paid the 10 per cent carried interest payable to the government in 2015, hence calling on the government to reexamine its 10 per cent carried interest agreement with the extractive industries in the country.
Dr Manteaw made this known in Accra in an interview with Graphic Online on the sidelines of the launch of the 2015 GHEITI report on mining, oil and gas sectors.
“We may want to consider drawing lessons from the oil sector, where our current interest is calculated as a share of production and taken upfront so that it is not dependent on whether or not oil companies declare a profit,” he explained.
He explained that if Ghana reexamines its policy agreement with the extractive industries to let them pay the 10 per cent carried interest based on share of production, the country will be receiving some monies all the time from the extractive industries.
The GHEITI is an international initiative among governments, companies and civil society groups to promote transparency in the flow of revenues from extractive companies to host country governments based on a set of criteria for transparent reporting on the revenue and other benefits.
The purpose of the initiative is to encourage greater transparency in the extractive sector to enable citizens to make informed demands for the fair and sustainable use of revenues generated through the exploitation of natural resources.
Dr. Steve Manteaw
The EITI requires implementing countries to prepare and publish an annual report disclosing company payment and government revenues from the extractive sector.
The report covers an overview of the mining sector in Ghana as well as registers; exploration, production and exports; beneficial ownership; contract transparency; state participation in the extractive sector; and revenue collection among others.
Asked whether there are no sanctions for companies that flout the country’s mining laws, Dr Manteaw said there can only be sanctions when the country takes legal reforms to back its Minerals and Mining Act.
He said, for instance, that in 2014, the government decided to collect royalties from the mining companies on monthly basis rather than on quarterly basis and because the government did not amend the Minerals and Mining Act to reflect that “the companies are not complying” with such directive.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, who launched the report said the key factor that contributed to the delay in the production of the report was due to the failure in the release of funds by one of the donor partners “which had agreed to fund the report”.
He said given the strategic importance of natural resources especially, minerals and oil and gas to the economy of the country, “there is the need for a more transparent and prudent management of revenues” from the extractive sectors.
Mr Kwaku Kwarteng in a pose with some stakeholders after the launch
He added that there was the need to ensure that “our natural resources revenue data are widely available to empower the general public to hold both companies and government accountable.”
Mr Kwarteng said although the mining sector makes significant contributions to the country’s economy, the sector’s contribution to the country’s total tax revenue has been declining.
He explained that tax revenues from the mining sector declined from 27 per cent in 2012 to 19 per cent in 2013, 16 per cent in 2014 and 14 per cent in 2015.
The government of Ghana received US$396.17 million from petroleum revenues in 2015 while it received GH¢1,285 million in the same year from the mining sector.