Mining Companies Don�t Pay Rent

Over the years all mining companies in Ghana have not paid property rates to the state, Dr. Steve Manteaw, Vice Chairman of the Ghana Extractive industry Transparency Initiative has disclosed. Though the mining companies continue to exploit the nation�s non renewable resources they have failed to pay the paltry sum of GH50p annually for ground rent per acre of land under concessions entrusted to them. Dr Manteaw, who spoke to the CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE on the sidelines of a training workshop for the journalists on natural resources issues in Ghana organized by KASA Ghana with support from CARE and ICCO said, �Our research has indicated that none of the mining companies is honouring its ground rent obligation.� Government�s proceeds from mining comes in the form of taxes, ground rent and royalties among others which has been described as inadequate considering the potential the sector holds in transforming the local economy. The Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Vice Chair also blamed the office of the Administration of Stool Lands for the non-payment of the property rate by the mining companies as it is the main institution charged to collect the rent on behalf of government, adding �it has not been doing it.� He explained that the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands had stop collecting the rate from the mining companies as the amount was too low. �To them it did not make economic sense to spend so much in collecting such a small amount as GH50p per acre of land for the whole year from the mining companies.� Mining companies have been blamed over the year for exploiting the mining communities in which they operate as their activities have dire consequences on the health, environment and livelihood of the people. The operations of two multinationals in the last five years is reported to have displaced 50,000 people in a number of communities where the big companies work, destroying their farms, homes and livelihood. The major concern of people, who have suffered this plight, has been over the payment of low compensations for their loss. Mining companies pay one-off compensation of about GH�20.00 for a cocoa tree, which may not cover the farmer�s earnings from a cocoa tree for one year. Their activities deny farmers of their earnings from their long-term investment in cocoa, which has economic life of about 50 to 60 years. The unpaid compensations translate into subsidies that the poor farmers provide to the multinational companies. In an attempt to block leakages in the mining sector, government announced in the 2012 budget statement, which was presented to parliament, that it was putting in place measures that would increase benefits from the sector. It indicated that corpaorate taxes had been raised from 25 per cent to 35 per cent with a projected collection of a windfall profit tax of 10 per cent from all mining companies and a uniform for capital allowance of 20 per cent for five years for mining. Mining in Ghana is mainly associated with pollution and the destruction of water bodies in addition to sacred groves.