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16.12.2005 General News

$154m from pledges allocated for agriculture

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Kumasi, Dec.16, GNA - About 154 million dollars from the one billion dollars pledged by Ghana's development partners to support the country's developmental agenda next year would be allocated to the agricultural sector.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who announced this; attributed the confidence of the development partners in Ghana's economy to the transparent and prudent economic management policies of the Government.

Mr Agyeman Manu was speaking at a workshop on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for chiefs and opinion leaders from mining communities in the country in Kumasi on Friday.

The workshop, organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, was under the theme, "Our Mineral Wealth, Equal Stake and Transparency for All."

EITI was launched in South Africa in 2002 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to promote transparency in mining companies, Government, NGOs and communities in which mining takes place to ensure that each derived maximum benefit from mining.

Mr Agyeman Manu said the country was expected to benefit from a major debt cancellation by its donors in January 2006, as a result of transparent and prudent manner the Government was managing affairs of the nation.

He said EITI was to ensure transparency in the quantity of minerals produced by mining companies, royalties they were supposed to pay to stool lands as well as taxes to be paid to the state. Mr Agyeman Manu said the Government would soon engage consultants to audit activities of mining companies in the country to ensure transparency in their operations.

He said there was the need to expand transparency to all sectors of the economy in order to win the confidence of the people and development partners.

The Deputy Finance and Economic Planning Minister therefore, called on traditional authorities and civil society groups to support the Government to ensure the nation derived maximum benefits from minerals. Mr Tawiah Amponsah, a Director at the Minerals Commission, said EITI would ensure all stakeholders in the extractive industry became abreast with modern trends in the industry.

He said traditional rulers and stool landowners would be able to know the amount paid as royalties and called for support from stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the initiative.

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