March 17, 2018

The Member of Parliament for the Abirem constituency in the Eastern region, John Frimpong Osei is urging government to expedite action in instituting measures that would ensure the implementation of provisions of the Minerals Development Fund Act, Act 912, 2016 to address challenges face by inhabitants within mining communities in the country.

According to him, since the passage of the law some two years ago, no action has been taken to give full enforcement to the law.

The MP has accordingly urged government to in accordance with provisions of the law ensure the Board for the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) is constituted, ensure that 20 percent portion of MDF disbursement are made to the Mining Community Development Scheme (MCDS) to support sustainable mining and development and establish in each community, a Local Management Committee to manage the fund.

The MP said these in a statement on the floor of Parliament on the implementation of the Minerals Development Fund Act, Act 912, 2016 to address concerns of people living in mining communities.

This sector he said has chalked remarkable growth, according to the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, from a comatose figure of -7.6% in 2016 to 52.3% in 2017 at a time that the sector was undergoing planned reforms to purge it from illegal operations.

He noted that mining contributes to Job creation, the provision of social amenities and infrastructure through Corporate Social Responsibility; and Skills training and technology transfer, among others.

The benefits associated with mining he noted are intertwined with some negative effects on mining communities which delude the people in the mining communities.

He has therefore proposed pragmatic and holistic solutions to issues of the wellbeing of the people in the mining communities.

He stated that the benefits of mining largely accrue to the nation but host communities live with the negative consequences such as loss of livelihoods, environmental degradation, pollution of water bodies through seepage of arsenic substances, the effect of explosives on buildings, undue pressure on available social amenities and increased social vices among others.

Mr John Frimpong Osei stated that until the policies mentioned under ACT 912 (2016)) is implemented, mining community dwellers will continue to suffer.

“Mr Speaker, until this laudable policy espoused under ACT 912 (2016)) is fully implemented, people living in mining communities will continuously remain short changed without alternative livelihoods” he said.

The envisaged MDF seeks to make available financial resources for the direct benefit to mining communities, holder(s) of interest in land within a mining community, traditional and local government authority within a mining community and an institution responsible for the development of mining.

It is expected to ensure disbursement and management of ceded royalties received by government redress harmful effects of mining on communities and persons and promote local economic development and alternative livelihood projects in communities affected by mining activities among others.

The delay in the implementation of the MDF Act, the MP said, is becoming a source of grave concern for the intended beneficiaries and urged government to expedite the process to help improve livelihoods of dwellers.

“Mr Speaker, I am, therefore, urging the government to quicken the processes for the full implementation of the Act whilst the mining companies relook at the plight of the people in the communities and further support them to earn a decent living through the provision of alternative livelihoods” the MP appealed.

By Christian Kpesese/