THE government has been urged to review the three per cent royalties paid by mining companies towards community development.
Of the three per cent royalties paid to government, 10 percent is transferred into the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) which was established to provide support for development projects in mining communities.
A further 10 percent is paid to the district assemblies, traditional council and stools in the mining areas, while the government retains the remaining 80 percent of the initial three per cent.
Speaking to the Times, Daniel Owusu Koranteng, Executive Director of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining, said an increase of the royalty rate to about six percent would beef up the national benefits and further enhance support for communities affected by the companies' operations.
“If the mining companies want to express concern for the development of the mining communities, they must translate that concern into a commitment for an increase in the royalty rate of three per cent,' he said
An increase in the rate of royalty by the mining companies had become necessary as a result of the increase in gold prices on the international market, he stated
He said that 2003 government figures of the total value of mineral exports juxtaposed to income derived from mineral taxes showed that Ghana earned only about five per cent of the total value of exports which is 46.7 million dollars out of a total mineral export value of 896.6 million dollars.
He argued that increment in the percentage of the mineral royalty rate by government, would ensure rapid development in mining communities which often becomes deprived after any mining activity.
Mr. Koranteng said government must ensure that mineral royalties paid by the companies are based on their levels of operations stressing that the royalties constitute the only source of revenue for government to support communities affected by mining.
He urged government to institute a flat rate of mineral royalties for mining companies.