Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has pledged to see that the Mining Development Fund’s (MDF) 2023 action plan is carried out. Monday, January 30, the minister told the staff of the fund that it is very important to make sure that communities where the country gets its mineral resources are well taken care of with the money from the resources.
The Minerals Development Fund Act 912, which Ghana’s Parliament passed in March 2016, set up the MDF to give mining communities a more reliable and predictable source of money for development projects.
The fund gives “financial resources for the direct benefit of mining communities, holders of an interest in land within mining communities, traditional and local government authorities within mining communities, and an institution responsible for the development of mining in Ghana.” It is funded by the 20% mineral royalty received by the Ghana Revenue Authority, grants, donations, voluntary contributions, and money approved by Parliament.
The goal of the fund is to reduce the negative effects of mining, help local economies grow, and do research on minerals. Section 5 of the Mining Development Act says that it is also used to help the ministry plan, evaluate, and keep track of its policies and to carry out projects that will help the mining industry.
According to the sector minister, the MDF is critical to the government’s plans to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly mining sector: “The action plan is such that they are going to roll out a lot more projects in mining communities.” As such, it is critical that “indigenous mining communities join us,” because without them, we will lack the stability required to build the mining industry we desire.
In 2022, the fund disbursed some GHS 188,505,764.43. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and its agencies were among the beneficiaries.
The fund also supported with the implementation of alternative livelihood support in communities including the construction of school blocks, community centres, ICT block, and water closet toilet facilities across beneficiaries communities.
Disbursements were also made for legacy projects at the University of Ghana and the University of Mines and Technology, including research.
“The Ministry is grateful for the work done thus far, and we would like to commend the fund’s management and staff on their excellent work.”
“The MDF’s mandate and work are critical to our efforts to build a responsible mining industry in the country that is environmentally conscious,” he added.
Dr Norris Hammah, the fund’s administrator, revealed to ZAMI Reports on the sidelines of the visit that royalties are distributed in two ways, with one going directly to the community and the other saved in a “legacy fund.”
The fund is divided into two parts: disbursement and utilization. It is up to the beneficiaries to decide how they will use their funds, but they must do so in accordance with the Act and Regulations.
“The utilization component remains with the MDF and is managed by us (the MDF). “As a result, the MDF can account for the components that we manage, and the beneficiaries are also audited by the government,” Mr Hammah explained.
In addition to the existing 19 local management committees, the fund established four new local management committees in 2022.
Mr Hammah reveals that the fund intends to establish more local management committees in 2023, adding that “LMCs have been established in the past based on facts and investigations, and that will continue.”
According to the Act, “local management committees will be established in the affected and adjacent communities due to the communities’ interconnectedness in terms of infrastructure usage.”
“Sometimes the community will ask us to explain why they need a local management committee,” Mr Hammah added.
Zubaida Mabuno Ismail | www.zamireports.com | Accra