The Omanhene of Sefwi Anhwiaso in the Sefwi Akontombra district of the Western Region, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II has called on the Ministry of finance to as a matter of urgency release the over one hundred million Ghana cedis royalties’ owed traditional authorities and district assemblies across the country.
Speaking as the chairman of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative dissemination workshop on the 2014 mining sector reports in Takoradi, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II observed that “the percentage of royalties paid to the traditional authorities and the district assemblies is just about 9 percent. In DR. Congo, it’s about 35 percent, in Nigeria, it’s about 30 percent, in other domains, it is 100 percent, and the 100 percent is taxed. Unfortunately, even the 9 percent is not released on time”.
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“As I speak, government owes us GH120m. I am told two weeks ago government released GH4m. How can we all the district assemblies and traditional authorities in the country spend GH4m, what can we do with it?
He said the sporadic release of the royalties is denying traditional authorities from honouring their pledges to sponsor brilliant but needy students in their traditional areas.
“Nananom use part of the royalties to grant scholarships. Unfortunately, when you delay, this thing affects our students in the secondary schools and other tertiary institutions”.
He warned that the practice is also leading to the mounting of excessive pressure on mining companies as district assemblies and community members turn to them for support.
Increase royalty percentage
Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II also called on the government to increase the percentage allocations to the district assemblies and traditional authorities. He said “I am also calling on the Ministry of Finance to increase the percentage. The percentage is rather too low. The chiefs have said it several times and we do not know what is stopping our honorable and the people in the ministry from increasing the 9 percent to about 35 percent. Otherwise, development levels at Tarkwa and Obuasi will continue to be in this deprived state”.
“Let mining companies pay royalties directly”
Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II suggested to the government that “isn’t it possible to ask the mining companies to pay royalties directly to Nananom and the district assemblies such that, the delays and the bureaucracies will be curtailed and fasten the development of the mining communities?. It is stated clearly in the law that a certain percentage must go to the two institutions.
Meanwhile the Co-Chair of the GHETI who is also the campaign coordinator for the Integrated Social Development Center ISODEC, Dr. Emmanuel Steve Asare Manteaw disagreed with the direct payment of the royalties to district assemblies and traditional authorities by the mining companies sighting lack of accountability on the part of the chiefs on the use of their share of royalties.