Stakeholders in Bono schooled on GHEITI report
The public, particularly communities hosting the extractive industry, have been urged to adopt the beneficial ownership (BO) data regime in order to demand accountability from both government and companies.
It is a new reporting regime introduced in 2019 by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to encourage more relevant, reliable and usable information, and to provide better linkages to wider country reforms.
At the GEITI 2020 dissemination reports workshop on the mining, oil and gas sector at Fiapre in the Bono Region last Tuesday, the Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr Steve Manteaw, said the use of the BO data could help solve some of the key challenges bedevilling the financial inflows in the sector.
“One of the ways of reducing corruption, tackling illicit financial flows, transfer pricing and under-invoicing in the extractive sector is the use of the BO data to demand accountability from both government and companies,” Dr Manteaw said.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Finance and GHEITI, with sponsorship from the German Development Cooperation, GIZ.
It was aimed at getting stakeholders to make input into decisions around the management of natural resources.
Dr Manteaw said the BO had addressed risks such as hidden ownership, opaque licensing procedures and unaccountable revenue collection and management.
He stated that since Ghana signed on to the EITI in 2003, transparency and accountability in the payments and revenues of the oil, gas and mining sectors had been deepened.
Dr Manteaw said significant strides had been made in reducing the potential of all forms of corruption, improving investment climate, strengthening government and company systems, and contributing to enhancing revenue mobilisation.
The Co-Chair of GHEITI said the EITI had two core implementation outcomes - transparency and accountability - explaining that they had made significant progress with achieving the transparency component in the extractive.
He, therefore, stressed the need for them to shift their focus to ensure that people tasked with public resources were accountable for their utilisation.
"Public engagements and fora are needed to ensure public awareness and understanding of EITI reporting to hold duty-bearers accountable for the utilisation of revenues from the extractive sector," he said.
Dr Manteaw said GHEITI's intervention through advocating fiscal reforms, especially royalties and corporate income tax, among others, in the extractive sector, had resulted in savings of about US$713 million in additional revenue to the state within a period of about 10 years.
He said Ghana’s five critical minerals had a huge potential to position the country as an industrial hub in Africa for raw materials needed for energy transition and mentioned manganese, bauxite/aluminium, iron ore, silica sand and graphite lithium as the five critical minerals in varying abundance.
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, said lithium, touted as one of the critical minerals for the green transition, had been discovered in commercial quantities in the country.
She expressed the need for the country to have a broader consultation on ways to regulate illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, in the country.
Ms Owusu-Banahene said curbing galamsey was crucial to protecting newly discovered critical minerals and attracting investments to ensure sustainable production by aligning Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM).