Invest MDF allocations in income-generating ventures
The Chairman of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Board, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, has urged local management committees (LMCs) of the fund in mining districts to prioritise investing mineral royalties allocated to them in sustainable income-generating businesses.
He said the prudent investment of MDF allocations in viable projects, especially in the agricultural and other sectors, would ensure regular income flow for more development projects.
Mr Sakyi-Addo said there was a window of hope for LMCs which were ready for such investments because the MDF Board had succeeded in making a case for the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) to go into off-taker agreements with mining districts, so that whatever they produced would be bought by mining companies.
"The MDF Board has had discussions with the GCM, which is represented on the board, and the chamber is open to the idea that when we provide the money, some of it can be invested in a viable project, for instance agriculture.
"The chiefs will provide land, so that the young men will produce vegetables in commercial quantities and supply to the mining companies based on an off-taker agreement.
“The companies will purchase all the vegetables and the profit can be used to provide more amenities for the communities.
That way, the funds will be more beneficial to the communities," he said.
He said since members of the LMCs were the representatives of the districts, they could take up the idea and explore what investment they could make that would be viable and which the mining companies had need for.
Mr Sakyi-Addo made the call at the inauguration of a multi-purpose community centre at Ahansonyewodea, a community in the Obuasi East District in the Ashanti Region.
The project, which was constructed by the Obuasi LMC of the MDF, is meant to address the social needs of the people, as it will be a centre for funerals, festivals, community durbars and parties.
Present at the ceremony were officials of the MDF, such as the Deputy Administrator in charge of Operations, Emmanuel Quaye; Finance and Administration, Seidu Abu-Jaja; the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Obuasi East, Faustina Amissah, as well as the chiefs and people of the area.
The MDF Secretariat has disbursed more than GH¢700 million to beneficiaries in mining communities across the country.
However, Mr Sakyi-Addo said although there was ample evidence that the fund had been largely put to good use in the various mining communities, it could be optimised through strategic investment.
He observed that the off-taker agreement with the GCM that had been proposed was a golden opportunity for the assemblies to rake in more money to provide more amenities for the people.
"We respect the decisions of the LMCs as to how they utilise the MDF allocated to them, but we can also make recommendations as to how it can be put to good use, and we think the off-taker agreement with the GCM is a good deal," he said.
The DCE said the call made by the MDF Board Chairman was a good one, as it would enhance sustainability of projects that were executed in mining communities.
Ms Amissah said the assembly would work closely with the LMC and the GCM to see how the initiative would work out.
She said while that was being worked out, it was important for the MDF Secretariat to release funds promptly to the LMCs for the timely completion of projects.
She also called on the LMC members to collaborate with the assembly to ensure that projects initiated aligned with the local medium-term plan.