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Natural resource fund advocated



By: Fred Yaw Sarpong

Dr. Steve Manteaw, the Campaign Coordinator for Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) has advocated for a Natural Resource Fund (NRF) for the country instead of having separate funds for each natural resources.

According to him, putting together revenues from oil and gas, mining, bauxite, timber, diamond, salt and among others into one fund (NRF) will be of more beneficial to the country.

Dr. Manteaw said the Natural Resource Fund will come with it managers who will be responsible of managing the fund to the benefit of Ghanaians.

He said this when he addressed members of Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) at a workshop in Elimina. The workshop was to allow the media personnel to review the 2013 report of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) on mining and oil and gas.

He argued that if the natural resource fund is set up equal allocation of funds will earmark to develop certain areas especially where those resources are found.

He stated that natural resource wealth if managed well can contribute to sustainable economic growth, national development, and poverty reduction.

‘‘Sovereign governments have responsibility to manage natural resource wealth for the benefit of their citizens. The benefits of resource extraction occur as revenue streams over many years and can be highly price dependent,’’ he noted.

Dr. Manteaw said a public understanding of government revenues and expenditure over time could help public debate and inform choice of appropriate and realistic options for sustainable development.

He was of the point that transparency by governments and extractive industry companies is important and should enhance public financial management and accountability.

‘‘Achievement of greater transparency must be set in the context of respect for contracts and laws. However, financial transparency has the potential to enhance the environment for domestic and foreign direct investment in the country,’’ he reiterated.

He said governments must hold themselves accountable to all citizens for the stewardship of revenue streams and public expenditure

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