By Fred Yaw Sarpong
Ghana received a partial score of 63, ranking the country 15th out of the 58 countries in the world, according to 2013 Resource Governance Index released by Revenue Watch Institute (RWI). Ghana’s performances were based of mining activities in the country.
Ghana’s score was base on Institutional and Legal Setting (79), Safeguards and Quality Controls (73), Reporting Practices (51), Enabling Environment (59) and Sub-national Transfer (69).
Ghana earned a satisfactory score of 79 on the product of sub-stantial disclosure policies and an evolving legal framework.
According to the index, in 2012 the Ministry of Minerals, Lands and Natural Resources announced reforms to introduce competitive auctions for mineral licenses. ‘Environmental impact assessments are required prior to licensing, but the results are confidential,’ said the index.
It also noted that the Large Taxpayer Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority collects all taxes from mining companies; taxes on dividends are collected by a separate unit of the Finance Ministry. ‘The collecting agencies use some mining revenues in their own budgets rather than depositing them in the treasury,’ according to the index.
The index states that Ghana is a signatory to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and achieved compliant status in 2010. A Freedom of Information Bill has been dormant in Parliament since 2010.
‘The government does not publish comprehensive information on most key aspects of the mining industry, resulting in a partial score of 51,’ according to the index.
It also said that information on applications for mining concessions is available for a fee, but there is no clear explanation of licensing criteria, adding that mining contracts are not published and it is difficult to evaluate the actual fiscal terms that apply to companies. However, many oil contracts are available on government websites. Some mining companies voluntarily publish their environmental impact assessments.
Ghana received a satisfactory score of 73, on a product of anti-corruption policies but lack of assertive government oversight.
The Resources Governance Index revealed that inadequate resources mean that legislators rarely fulfill the requirement to ratify all mining contacts. ‘Members of Parliament from the ruling party are often appointed to the boards on mining companies, giving legislators a personal stake in the industry despite laws prohibiting conflicts of interest,’ said the index.
The index made it clear that audit mechanisms are weak in Ghana and no reports specific to extractive revenues are published, despite Ghana Audit Office reviews government agencies financial statements and reports to Parliament.
The country also received a partial score of 59, reflecting less-than-satisfactory rankings on measurements of government accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.
The index also accused the central government transfers resource revenue to local authorities, saying that it only transfer revenues after merging them with other revenues in a Common Fund for Local Authorities. Information on distributions from the common fund is published in local government budgets, available by request from local governments or the Interior Ministry. However, the rules that determine the allocations are not available.