Government is being urged to establish an independent body to promote transparency and accountability in the minerals mining sector.
Government revenues from mining have declined and being surpassed by income from oil and gas despite over 100 years of mining.
The sector scored 37 out of 100 points while oil and gas scored 65 out of 100 points in revenue management.
The 2017 Resource Governance Index report ranked Ghana’s mining sector at 24 out of 89 countries assessed, suggesting a poor performance.
Vice Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Kwame Jantuah, believes Ghana’s mining sector needs a similar body like PIAC, which monitors revenue in the oil and gas sector.
“One of the key things PIAC has been able to do for the [oil and gas] sector is that it started with it so all the steps that the oil industry has taken, PIAC have also taken. As old as the mining sector is, we would need a ‘PIAC’ of mining technical people, if we want to address the challenge,” he said.
Following the passage of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act in 2011, civil society organisations have advocated for a comparable Minerals Revenue Management Act.
Ghana’s Petroleum Fund tops the rankings for transparency and accountability measures and contributes to the good revenue management score in the oil and gas escort.
“We need to do that for the mining sector because it gives Ghana a lot of revenue,” said Mr Jantuah.
The Oil and Gas sector, according to the Resource Governance Index, was 13th on the ranking making it the best in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the mining sector, however, lack of disclosures and audits of sub-national revenue sharing bring revenue management performance down.
According to Mr. Jantuah, mining laws must be strengthened as with the oil and gas industry, to appropriately exploit the rich minerals identified in Ghana.
Ranking Member of the Mines and Energy committee in Parliament, Adam Mutahwakilu, says a stronger law to govern the mining sector is required.
“We have done gold for a very long time, and the laws are there. Other countries have taken and improved upon them and they look more attractive to investors like Eritrea, and Burkina Faso,” he said.
Parliament in 2016 passed the mining development fund to provide a legal backing for the effective distribution of royalties to mining communities for expected development.
Despite its passage, there is no institution to oversee the effective implementation of the objective of the mining development fund to prevent conflict in the disbursement of revenue.
“It is another way of regulating from the mining sector because royalties coming from the mining sector end up in the consolidated funds which becomes difficult to access for the mining communities to utilise,” the legislator said.