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Minerals Development Fund gets board

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh (right), the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, swearing the board members of the Minerals Development Fund into office in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh (right), the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, swearing the board members of the Minerals Development Fund into office in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The maiden board that will oversee the full implementation of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) has been inaugurated, with a charge on its members to take immediate steps to complete stalled projects under the fund.

The MDF was set up to provide development projects for mining communities that have been negatively impacted by mining activities.

It derives its funds from 20 per cent of minerals royalty received from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), funds from holders of mining leases, money approved by Parliament for the fund, grants, donations, gifts, as well as money that accrues to the fund from investments made by the MDF Board.

Board

A ceremony was held in Accra yesterday, at which the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, swore in the members of the board.

The 11-member board, which is chaired by Ms Esther Happy Edjeani, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s nominee, has the mandate to operationalise the fund.

The other members of the board are the Chief Director of the ministry, Professor Patrick K. Agbesinyale; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr Addae Antwi-Boasiako; the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Mr Daud Sulemana Mahama; the Administrator of the Office of Stool Lands, Mrs Christina E. Bobobee; the President of the Chamber of Mines, Mr Kwame Addo-Kuffuor, and the Vice-President of the National House of Chiefs, Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi VII.

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The rest are the Coordinating Director of the Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Peace E. Mends; the Technical Director of the Mnistry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Mr Fredua Agyeman; the Director of Human Resource Management at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Frank A.N. Sofo, and the nominee of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ms Ellen Ama Daaku.

The board will have the primary responsibility of appointing an administrator to the MDF, an office currently occupied by an acting administrator.

Call

Mr Asomah-Cheremeh described the inauguration of the board as a huge milestone in the effort being made to develop mining communities and also ensure that the key stakeholders got the right benefits from mineral resources.

"I want to inform the board that they have a huge task on their hands and must brace themselves up to surmount the challenges that will confront them in carrying out their mandate.

This is because the expectations of fund beneficiaries have heightened with the operationalisation of the fund," he said.

Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, however, noted that the current revenue source of only 20 per cent of mineral royalties to the MDF was woefully inadequate to carry out development projects in the mining communities, as required.

He, therefore, urged the members of the board to take bold steps to diversify revenue sources to the fund.

Mr Asomah-Cheremeh also asked the members of the board to work diligently to remove the barriers militating against the effective utilisation of the fund.

Assurance

Ms Edjeani, for her part, promised that the team she led would work hard to turn the fortunes of the MDF around to benefit mining communities.

She stressed that the board would adhere to strict accountability regimes as provided to ensure that the resources would be put to judicious use.