Parliament does not do due diligence— Natural resource expert
A natural resource governance expert has noted that Ghana’s Parliament does not do due diligence on the bills and agreements on natural resources that come before it
expert, Mr Adams Fusheini, who is the African Parliament Capacity Officer for the Natural Resource Governance Institute, contended that the situation was such that the outcome of such agreements and bills did not inure to the interest of the country.
He cited the recent Bauxite for Infrastructure Agreement between Ghana and China, which he said was being rushed through Parliament, at the expense of the national interest.
“Things are being done for electoral purposes, rather than the national interest,” he said at a breakfast meeting on natural resources in Accra yesterday.
The meeting was to discuss how Ghana could use its natural resources to drive its development as it pursued beyond aid agenda.
Organised by the Institute of Green Growth Solutions (IGGS), with the support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), an NGO, the meeting brought together participants from civil society organisations and policy makers to discuss the issue.
The government, in June last year, inaugurated a committee to draw up a for the achievement of beyond aid vision that seeks to harness and prudently manage the country’s vast natural resources to finance its development agenda, without recourse to foreign assistance.
While being cautiously optimistic that the country could achieve beyond aid agenda, Mr Fusheini said he expected more due diligence from parliamentarians on legislation that went before them, alleging that the Legislature was partisan in a way that did not leave enduring legacies on legislation.
“If you talk about Parliament, whether under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) or the New Patriotic Party (NPP), you notice that what the government brings to Parliament is rushed through, without proper consultation with stakeholders,” he said.
Bauxite Development Authority
He cited the Ghana Integrated Aluminium and Bauxite Development Authority Bill which he described as a game changer in the country but lacked consultation.
The bill seeks to ensure that the aluminium and bauxite sector is properly governed to serve the country’s interest.
The authority is expected to play the important role of promoting responsible mining and regulating the development of the industry.
It will be responsible for the development of the necessary infrastructure, including rail, roads and energy, industrial parks and associated social infrastructure, to support related businesses in the sector.
Mr Fusheini said the development of the resource would present an enormous development opportunity to the country.
“It will take us beyond decades. Therefore, we need more consultation before passing the bill. I am hopeful that there will be follow-up legislation on the sector,” he said.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, in a speech read on his behalf, said the government was enforcing local content policies to ensure that the country benefited from its minerals, while local communities also benefited from the resources mined in their communities.
The Resident Country Representative of the KAS, Mr Burkhadt Helleman, said while Germany did not have resources, it had concentrated on developing knowledge and its human resource.
He said that was the reason Germany had a very powerful industrial sector.