Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, a Deputy Minister of Finance said government will continue to work assiduously to ensure that revenues from extractive resources are prudently managed and utilised for the benefit of the citizenry.
He said transparency in commodity trading including information on the parties to the transactions and the factors influencing the sales was indispensable in providing a full picture of government’s revenues and management of its natural resources.
Mr Kwarteng was speaking at the launch of the 2016 Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Mining, Oil/Gas and Commodity trading pilot reports in Accra.
The EITI report is the 13th report on the mining sector and sixth in the Oil and Gas sector, since September 2010.
Mr Kwarteng said, Ghana was adjudged by the EITI International Board as having achieved ‘meaningful progress’ in implementing the EITI in the country.
He said given the strategic importance of natural resources, especially minerals, and oil and gas to the economy of Ghana there was the need for a more transparent and prudent management of revenues from these sectors and to ensure that our natural resources revenue data were widely available to empower the general public to hold companies and government accountable.
Mr Kwarteng said, although the mining sector’s contribution to Ghana’s total domestic tax revenues had decline from 27 per cent in 2012 through to 14 per cent in 2015, it had improved to 16 per cent in 2016 due to a rise in the production and exports of gold, bauxite and manganese as well as a ten per cent rise in the price of gold.
He said in a similar manner, fiscal revenues from mining and quarrying sectors increased from GH¢1.3 billion in 2015 to GH¢1.6 billion in 2016.
The Deputy Finance Minister said: ‘Government is pleased to acknowledge that the Report found the governance arrangements for trading oil and gas by the GNPC as good, but there is scope for improvement in anticipation of future growth in volume of oil sales’.
He said as part of the EITI standard adopted in Peru 2016 Global Conference, Ghana was required to establish a Beneficial Ownership (BO) register to start reporting on it by January 2020 as part of the EITI reporting process.
Mr Kwarteng said the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General and the Registrar-General’s Department together with other key stakeholders including the Ghana EITI were working hard towards amending the Companies Law of 1963 (Act 179) to include provisions on BO.
Government is also working on a new Companies Bill which has been approved by Cabinet and currently with the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for discussion, he said.
He said building a Ghana beyond Aid remains a top priority, hence government would continue to build the capacity of key institutions and also support good governance initiatives such as the EITI to make the dream a reality.
He said indeed the work of the GHEITI fits well into government’s broad development dimensions and policy objectives or economic development, governance, corruption and public accountability with the view of promoting the fight against corruption and economic crime in line with the SFGs 17, 1, 16 and 5.