‘Don’t over rely on natural resources revenue for development’

By Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA

Kumasi, Feb. 15, GNA
– Dr Steve Manteaw, the Co-Chairperson of the Ghana Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), has stressed the need for Ghana to shift from
the over-reliance on revenue from natural resources to pursue her development
agenda.

He said history had
revealed that most countries, which relied heavily on their natural resources
for development, had failed and remained under-developed despite their huge
natural resource base.

At the presentation
of the 2015 and 2016 Annual Reports of Ghana’s Mining, Oil and Gas Sectors in
Kumasi, Dr Manteaw said Ghana should concentrate on expanding her tax revenue
base, to raise the indexes of tax inflows for the national development agenda.

Dr Manteaw said the
implementation of numerous GHEITI initiatives had brought a wide range of
reforms to the fiscal regime, especially in the mining sector where varied
royalties had been introduced.

This, according to
him, had brought on board numerous positive socio-economic impacts, describing
it as “satisfactory.”

He cited, for
instance, the stabilisation of the royalty regime in mining, which was between
three to six per cent fixed rate.

Again, cooperate
income taxes have been increased from 25 per cent to 35 per cent and also
staggered the recovery of capital allowances by companies.

He said previously,
mining companies operated up to 15 years without paying any taxes, but GHEITI
had insisted that they should not be made to recover all their capital
expenditures before coming into tax paying positions.

“We have asked them
by law, to stagger their recovery at 20 per cent every year, and in worse
cases, we expect the company to come into tax paying position after five years
and not the fifteen years that we have been accustomed to,” he stated.

Mr Bashiru
Abdul-Razak, the GHEITI National Coordinator at the Ministry of Finance, said
Ghana had, so far, produced 13 and six mining and oil/gas reports respectively,
with various findings and recommendations, which had helped inform a wide range
of policy, legislative and institutional reforms in the extractive sector.

He said discussions
were on-going among Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
stakeholders and the board, for clarifications to the EITI standard in areas of
gender considerations, improving systematic disclosures of data by government and
industry and reflecting progress on commodity trading transparency.

Mr Abdul-Razak said
talks were also going on to address challenges in licensing allocations,
contract disclosures to improve transparency and ensure open door policy in the
extractive industry.

GNA

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