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Stakeholders in the extractive sectors have held a workshop in Takoradi, to review the 2014 Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) Reports, to improve transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from the natural resources.
Mr Simon Attebiya, the Technical Director in-charge of Mining at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, said the country has made tremendous progress since 2003 when it signed onto the global benchmark for measuring transparency in the utilisation of revenues from the extractives.
He said Ghana was recognised at the Seventh EITI Global Conference in Lima, Peru, in February this year, as the best implementing country for initiating reforms in the extractive sectors.
He also applauded the efforts of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, a civil society organisation, for facilitating the development of the Open Data Dashboard on the country’s extractives that enabled individuals and institutions to tap into data available on the sector.
Mr Attebiya noted that easy access to information on the extractives had improved public confidence and would promote sustainable socio-economic development.
According to him, the work of the EITI had facilitated positive outcomes such as policy and institutional reforms that would enhance transparency, good governance and accountability in the extractive sectors.
He cited the enactment of the Minerals Development Fund legislation by Parliament and, therefore, expressed optimism that EITI would champion programmes to digest complex and intricate financial systems operated by some mining companies.
This would ensure that Government receives its fair share of revenues.
Mr Attebiya indicated that the government supports initiatives and reforms aimed at ensuring mutually positive outcomes for stakeholders in the extractive sectors.
In this vein, he said, the government would in turn utilise the accountability and transparency mantra, to achieve development in the most efficient and effective manner.
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Mona Quartey, the Deputy Minister of Finance, noted that the EITI process has helped the country to better appreciate the challenges confronting the extractive sectors and find ways to address them.
She said government is committed to the EITI processes and would continue to lend massive support to GHEITI, in order to improve regular and updated information on revenues in the mining and oil and gas sectors to the relevant stakeholders.
The Deputy Finance Minister observed that the mining sector is the most significant sector to the country’s economy for over two decades.
She said it contributed 8.0 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product and 34.7 per cent of the country’s total merchandise exports in 2014.
In addition, the extractives contributed 5.0 per cent of the total government’s revenues, which underscores its importance in consolidating the country’s middle-income status and ensuring sustaining economic growth.
So far, this is the 11th EITI report for the mining sector since 2004 and the fourth for the oil and gas sector since Ghana started commercial production of crude oil in 2010.