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Bush Meat Revenue Overtakes Mining   
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Revenue accruing from the sale bush meat in the country is said to five times more than returns generated from mining, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Deputy Executive Director of the West Africa Coalition on Mining (WACAM), has said.

Making reference to statistics from the Forestry Commission & Wildlife Division for 2005, she said bush meat trade for 2003 generated an annual turnover of between $200 and $300 million whereas out of a total of about $870 million generated in 2003 only $46.7 million, representing five percent, was retained in Ghana.

“Testimonies from politicians, mining communities, traditional authorities, civil society organisations and also empirical evidence from researchers point to the fact that Ghana has had insignificant benefits from its mineral wealth.

“Ghana has instead incurred huge social, health, cultural, environmental and economic costs from mining.”

She said though the 2009 Budget Statement indicated that mineral reserves for 2008 amounted to about $2.3 billion, the Chamber of Mines also averred that mining companies paid about GH˘180 million to the Government of Ghana, which represented about five percent of the total mineral revenues for 2008.

“Again, bush meat sale for the same period was between $300 and $350 million.”

Mining accounts for 49 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings but its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is just about six percent. Mining also employs about 12,500 people, which is less than 1 percent of the total workforce in Ghana.

She revealed that though mining companies are expected to pay five percent gross minerals mined as royalties, some have succeeded in paying three percent because of stability agreements entered into with government.

Furthermore, mining companies spend between 0.5 and 1 percent of their profit-after-tax on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng, who commented on a complaint of the Minister of Finance & Economic Planning via a letter dated 20th January, 2011, stated that “currently, Ghana has zero percent shares in Newmont Ahafo, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi, AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem, Newmont Ahafo and Noble Mineral Resources, Bibiani despite that fact that we should have 10 percent free carried interest as required by the mining Act.”

She attributed the messy situation to weak regulations that do not protect the sovereign rights of Ghanaians, absence of strong institutions, as well as the lobbying and financial capability of the mining companies and the vulnerability of host communities.

Additionally, she cited corruption and the lack of transparency in managing revenues from extractives, Ghana’s fiscal regime that guarantees generous incentives to mining companies and the tendency of most mineral dependent countries to go on spending spree with resultant unsustainable debts as other stimulants.

Ransford Tetteh, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), in a remark, called on Ghanaians to push government to review the mining laws of the country to check the canker.

He also advised journalists not to allow themselves to be corrupted with bribes from mining companies, but blaze the trail of professionalism for the emancipation of Ghana from imperialists.
Source: Samuel Boadi/D-G

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