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They believe that, after Ghana’s sterling performance in fiscal and contract transparencies, among others, it is time to tackle the emerging environmental challenges that come with resource extraction.

EITI logoGhana was one of four countries honored at the 7th Global EITI Conference in Lima, Peru , last month for their strict implementation with recommendations of the Ghana EITI (GHEITI), leading to far-reaching policy, regulatory, and institutional reforms in its mining, oil and gas sectors.

“The EITI for Ghana is therefore not a fanciful exercise designed to please development partners and to enhance the international public image of Ghana. It is for us, a deeply thought through exercise meant to enhance the development outcomes of natural resource exploitation in our country,” Mona Quartey, Deputy Minister of Finance, told the international gathering.

But stakeholders believe that dealing with the environmental issues Is the last leg of the challenges in the extractive sector the EITI seeks to address.

“We are now beginning to get a fuller picture of the impact of the extractive sector on the national economy, thanks to the 2013 standard.

“But until we begin to account for the environmental and social impacts, especially on host communities, the last jigsaw of the puzzle EITI seeks to resolve will still be missing,” Steve Manteaw, Co-Chair of the Ghana-EITI(GHEITI), commented on the launch of the 2014 reports here.

Speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the extractive industry, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng pointed out that Transparency was more than just financial disclosure, and involved all principles of good governance, including the right to decide from contracting to mine and drill decommissioning and closure.

Looking ahead, Owusu-Koranteng urged that Ghana should target efforts at improving governance in the extractive sector by improving the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) clauses into its mining, oil and gas laws.

“Incorporating the FPIC in the extractive laws of Ghana will protect frontline communities from many of the violations they suffer as a result of extractive activities. FPIC will also equip communities to protect their rights to ownership of land and rights to livelihoods prior to the granting of rights to extractive companies,” she added.

As a nation, Owusu-Koranteng lamented that Ghana had not drawn the critical balance sheet of benefits and costs associated with resource exploitation.

“Government must commission a cost-benefit study of mining which takes into account the environmental, social and economic cost of mining for proper assessment of the benefits of mining to our nation and develop mechanisms that will ensure that companies internalize the environmental and social costs of mining into their investment lands, and not to externalize the cost,” she added. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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