A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, has stressed the need to make revenue data on the nation’s natural resources widely available to empower the public to hold both companies and the government accountable.
He said by signing on to the Extractive Transparency Initiative (EITI), Ghana had heeded the call that transparent and accountable management of extractive resources could make a difference.
The minister was addressing metropolitan, municipal, district chief executives, co-ordinating directors and finance officers of the assemblies from the Western Region at a workshop on the “Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) dissemination” in Takoradi.
The stakeholders’ workshop was aimed at discussing the findings and recommendations of the 2010/2011 EITI reports which have been produced to make revenue information on the extractive sector available to the public.
Mr Forson said the effectiveness of the EITI required critical discussions, evaluation and interpretation of the report by key stakeholders, adding that it was through awareness creation among stakeholders that maximum benefit would be derived from the publications.
He said the government would continue to support the Ghana EITI process to provide regular information on all revenues received by the government from the extractive sector in mining and oil/gas.
The deputy minister called on the MMDAs in the mining areas to demonstrate fiscal accountability and transparency in all revenue mobilisation and expenditure decisions, particularly those relating to the use of mineral royalties.
Mr Ebenezer K. T. Addo, the Western Regional Minister, said the time was ripe for citizens of mining communities to take the findings of the EITI report seriously and use it as the basis to demand accountable governance from the managers of the resources.
He said a well-informed society would embolden the citizenry to demand what was rightly theirs and urged the communities to study critically the report and act accordingly.
Mr Addo stressed the need to control revenue generated from the extractive sector to ensure its judicious use for the benefit of the entire community.
The Regional Minister called for permanent solutions to be found to lapses reported yearly in the EITI reports about the utilisation of the royalties of the MMDAS.