Dennis Peprah, GNA
Kenyasi Number One, June 12, GNA - Gold production at the Ahafo mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo has witnessed consistent increase since the company begun actual mining in 2006.
A recent research said the mine's annual gold production jumped from 206,126 ounces in 2006 to 556,285 ounces in 2011.
It said the mine was not liable to pay local and Municipal taxes including property rates, as contained in its investment agreement signed in 2003.
Dubbed "freezing local revenue to stabilize foreign companies", the research was conducted by Dr Abdulai Darimani, the Acting Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) between 2016 and 2018.
It was jointly by funded by Tax Justice Network and Open Society Foundation and Open Society Foundation, international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and facilitated by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and Livelihood and Empowerment Ghana (LEG) also NGOs.
Dr Darimani presented research findings at a validation and dissemination workshop organised by the LEG, which works to promote environmental sustainability held at Kenyasi number One
The main purpose of the research dissemination was to get the people well informed and develop their interest to participate effectively in signing local agreements with mining companies.
It was attended by traditional authorities, assembly members, youth groups, civil society organisations and heads of department and agencies.
Dr Darimani said the District Assembly is expected to generate GH¢93,914.01 from the mine annually, saying because of the tax exemptions per the investment agreement the Assembly lost GH¢939,140. 15 in the process.
But, he was quick to add that the losses were legal as it is enshrined in the company's investment agreement.
He said the mine has about 221 properties in the district eligible for chargeable rates.
Dr Darimani called for effective collaboration between the Minerals Commission and the Ghana Revenue Authority and all relevant stakeholders to conduct and publish annual tax incentive analysis for mining companies.
He also called for exclusion of royalties from being part of the list of negotiable incentives on investment agreement with mining companies.
Mr Anthony Mensah, the Asutifi North District Chief Executive, said the Assembly would utilize the mining royalties to facilitate speedy development of the District.
He said the mine started paying local revenue to the Assembly around in 2016, and commended the mine for the consistency in the payment of the revenues, which he said had strengthen the Assembly to address many of its development needs.
Mr Mensah said the Assembly's share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) was not enough to meet the development needs of the communities, hence the need for the people to pay their taxes and rates.
He said as the people honour their tax obligations, the Assembly would also ensure equitable distribution of development projects in the local communities.
In an open forum, many of the participants were upset with the research findings.
They were of the view that the local tax exemption contained in the mine's investment agreement was not justifiable considering the physical development deficit in the local communities.
Mr Richard Agyei-Poku, the Executive Director of LEG, expressed the hope that the participants would study the research and disseminate the findings in the local communities to make the people well informed with the operations of mining companies.