MMDCEs want raise in Mineral Devt Fund allocation
Some Chief Executives of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in mining regions have called on the government to increase the percentage of mineral royalties allocated to the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) to at least 30 per cent.
They said an increment in the statutory fund from the current 20 per cent to a minimum of 30 per cent would ensure that local authorities get substantial resources from the MDF to undertake key development projects to benefit the people.
The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMCDEs) who made the call were from the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, Elijah Adansi Bonah; Adansi North, Eric Kwaku Kusi; Amansie Central, Michael Donkor; Obuasi East, Faustina Amissah, all in the Ashanti Region.
The rest are Upper Denkyira West, Richmond Kodua and Asutifi North, Anthony Mensah in the Central and Ahafo regions.
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic last week, they observed that although proceeds from the MDF had contributed significantly to improve infrastructure in their areas, more needed to be done to improve the living standards of the people.
The MMDCEs spoke to the Daily Graphic during a one-week tour of the four regions with officials of the MDF Secretariat and Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) to ascertain how Local Management Committees (LMCs) had utilised mineral royalties given to them for development projects in their communities.
The districts that were visited as part of the inspection tour were Asutifi North District in the Ahafo Region, Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District in the Western-North Region, Upper Denkyira West in the Central Region and Obuasi municipal, Obuasi East, Akrofuom, Adansi North and Amansie Central, all in the Ashanti Region.
In all the districts visited, it was observed that the LMCs had undertaken a number of development projects aimed at improving the living standards of the people.
Those projects cut across sectors such as education, health care, water and sanitation, business development and rural electrification.
In the education sector, proceeds from the MDF were used to construct classroom blocks, teachers’ bungalows, purchase of desks and the establishment of information and communication technology (ICT) centres.
Similarly, health sector projects such as hospitals, CHPS compounds, nurses’ quarters and medical equipment were constructed or installed in many of the districts.
In the Asutifi North District, for instance, the assembly had dedicated a chunk of the MDF proceeds to provide 226 boreholes and small water systems, thereby improving water coverage from 41 per cent in 2017 to 89 per cent currently.
The MMDAs had also constructed a number of markets to open up the local economy while others extended electricity coverage.
In spite of these successes, the MMDCEs said resource constraints had caused some projects to stall, while others were yet to be started.
Mr Bonah observed that an increment in the percentage of mineral royalties allocation to the MDF would help to change the narrative that mining communities were the most deprived in the country.
"The MDF is contributing significantly to the development of local communities here and that is why we are advocating that the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) should increase the 20 per cent allocation to 30 or 40 per cent so that we can serve our people better," he said.
For his part, Mr Donkor said the time had come for the MDF to be expanded and to ensure that communities that were directly affected by mining activities got some infrastructure projects.
He stressed that when the MDF was increased, it would help to transform many lives in mining communities.
"For the first time, our district has received GHC 620,000 from the MDF.
This money will be used to construct a dormitory for a senior high school here to improve education.
“The MDF should be increased so that we can do more local projects to directly benefit our people," he said.
The Adansi North DCE - Mr Kusi said although the money the district received from the MDF was minimal compared with other districts, it was put to good use to address critical development challenges.
"The MDF Secretariat should revise the formula for calculating the disbursements so that we can also get enough money to execute more tangible projects.
“My district is rural and some communities still need teachers’ quarters.
There are schools where teachers walk more than four kilometres to teach, and we need to change this situation," he said.
He also said the cost of building materials for executing projects had skyrocketed, making it impossible for the assemblies to do more projects.
"Our district sometimes gets GHC17,000 or GHC 25,000 from MDF. In this period of high cost of materials, it will be difficult to do the needed projects with such low allocations.
There is the need to increase the MDF allocations so that we can keep improving the lives of our people”,he said.