About 35 Civil Society Activists are currently meeting at Elmina Beach Resort Hotel in the Central Region to deliberate on the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) draft Bill , 2014.
The primary purpose of this Bill is to provide a legal framework and, ultimately, to enhance transparency and accountability in relation to governance of the natural resources sector of the economy.
In consonance with developing trends on the issue of extractive industry transparency, the Bill expands the scope of the current EITI to cover the entire natural resources sector, including minerals, petroleum, forestry and fisheries.
The Bill is also intended to ensure increased transparency in the distribution of payments made to and received by local government units and traditional authorities
The three-day consultation which convened by Publish What You Pay(PWYP) Ghana with sponsorship from GIZ aimed at seeking inputs from CSOs who advocated for the initiation of the bill.
Given the historical context of the GHEITI Bill, Dr. Steve Manteaw, the National Coordinator of PWYP said the Bill provides for contract transparency.
Dr Manteaw noted that the Bill makes provision for the disclosure to the public of the contents of extractive industry contracts negotiated and concluded between companies and firms within the sector and Government.
According to him, Contract transparency is essential not only for the purpose of tracking revenue streams but also for ensuring the sustainable exploitation of natural resources.
He said extractive industry contracts involve public resources and often act as instruments of public policy on fiscal, social, and environmental matters, adding that Citizens are therefore, entitled to know the contents of these contracts.
A participant, Simon Asore Azumah who is the Executive Director of Women and Youth Support Centre, in an interview said the Bill when pass into law will enhance transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.
He further said it help CSOs to monitor and ensure that all payments due to the Government from all extractive industry entities are duly made.
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