26.07.2006 Business & Finance

Government Creates Transparency In Mining

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Government is to institutionalise and legalise guidelines under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to create openness and accountability in revenue flow in the mining sector.

Mr Robert Biagya Yakubu, Technical Director of Mining at the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, who announced this yesterday said, as part of the process the Government had appointed an independent audit firm to carry out an annual audit of mining companies' activities.

Speaking at a sustainable development forum for stakeholders in the industry under the auspicious of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Yakubu underscored the importance of EITI saying; "Ghana has achieved a lot in terms of the issue of disclosure by mining companies."

He said the need for legislation to carry out the process of Ghana's EITI, which started three years ago, was crucial to implement fully the guidelines and principles.

Mr Yakubu said a Steering Committee was established to formulate policies; strategies and programmes as well as see to the development of an effective administrative framework. He said a website was being designed to serve as an outlet for disseminating audit reports and programmes of mining companies.

Presenting an overview on the International EITI, Mr Sanjay Wijesekera, of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) said it was necessary to unravel why most developing nations were noted as resource-rich countries yet experienced low growth rates and social and political problems.

He mentioned difficulty in management of natural resources as poor state-citizen accountability, lack of transparency as well as technical factors such as revenue volatility.

The concept of EITI, Mr Wijesekera said would encourage the Government, civil societies and extractive companies to work together to promote transparency in the industry. It would also foster democratic debate, improve macroeconomic management and create better business environment, he said.

Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said her outfit on transparency was guided by a code of conduct that ensured that companies complied fully on reporting and making relevant information disclosure.

She said the Chamber's role as an aggregator was to collect data from member companies and where possible match them against Mineral Commission's data as well as publish data in the newspapers.

According to her, EITI would be an indirect advocate for the mining sector and serve as a potential to enhance the image of the industry. She said for mining to be seen as a catalyst for development, there was the need to draw expertise and skills from all interested stakeholders so as to make maximum returns.

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