Chiefs must account for utilization of mining royalties – Dr Steve Manteaw

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Takoradi, Aug. 26,
GNA – Dr Steve Manteaw, Co-chairperson of the Ghana Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), says chiefs who receive mining royalties must
account to their people on the utilization of such revenues.

He said, over the
years, chiefs have not been accountable and transparent to the people on how
they used their share of the mining royalties.

Dr Manteaw said
this at the sidelines of the Regional Consultative Stakeholders Meeting held in
Takoradi recently, to review the GHEITI reports.    

He said although
the portion of the mining revenues that went to the chiefs must be used for the
maintenance of the chieftaincy institution in keeping with its status, the
chiefs had interpreted it as not requiring them to do any development projects
for their communities, but rather to pay for their retinues, maintenance of
their palaces and buy regalia and therefore owned nobody explanation on the
utilization of the royalties.

Dr Manteaw said
such interpretation was wrong, because even if the chieftaincy institution had
used the royalties for the aforementioned purposes, they must still account to
the people, saying “traditionally, our chiefs are supposed to account to their
people during occasions like festivals and community durbars”.

He said it has come
to the threshold where the people must impress upon their chiefs to account to
them, in order to ensure transparency and accountability.

Answering a
question regarding the need for the mining companies to utilize the mining
revenues themselves to develop their host communities, Dr Manteaw said, the
mining companies were not development agents, but were obliged to pay royalties
and corporate taxes to the government.

He in this regard,
he said, the district assemblies that received the mining revenues are mandated
to undertake such development projects and other essential services to the
people.

For instance,
mining allocations to the assemblies must not be used for recurrent expenditure
items but rather used for capital projects so that the host communities would
witness their real benefits, he said.

Dr Manteaw said
guidelines had been outlined for the use of mining royalties therefore they
must enforce their implementation, adding that the “Government must provide
detailed information on the utilization of mining revenues in the annual budget
by segregating each mining company’s contribution towards the development of
the nation”.

He said it was
imperative for Government to liaise with other relevant stakeholders, to select
priority areas which the mining revenues should be expended just like what
pertains in the petroleum revenues so that the people would see tangible
projects.

He said even the
petroleum revenues which had priority areas, there were challenges because
according to him, a recent trip by the Public Interest and Accountability
Committee to the three northern regions revealed that projects which monies had
been released for their implementation were non-existent.

GNA

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