MINING COMMUNITIES LOOK FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
Under the Natural Resources and Environment Governance (NREG) programme, KASA, the Integrated Social Development Center, ISODEC, implemented an activity which seeks to look at how the mining revenues at the district level are used by the district assembly, the chiefs and traditional council for the development of the community. This activity seeks to find out how best the resource curse in mineral rich areas where there is great poverty in the midst of wealth will be mitigated for communities to become more developed.
In view of this, ISODEC, which worked with the Publish What You Pay extractive engagement group in four mining zones, Western, Eastern, Ahafo and Ashanti, created a template which looks at the use of the mining revenues by the district assemblies and chiefs in the zones.
Below are some of the challenges faced by the engagement group on the collection of the information from the stakeholders identified.
The stakeholders generally did not give out the information to the members of the group regardless of the education the group gave them on what they were using the information for. The group saw that the stakeholders, including mining companies see NGOs in these enclaves as being antagonistic and confrontational. They are not prepared to give out any information.
People are apprehensive about giving out information on finances especially when they have to be accountable.
The engagement groups from these four enclaves agreed that it is important government passes the Right to Information Bill into an Act to enable easy access to information.
They said that regardless of them not getting the information they needed, they made the communities and the stakeholders aware of the need to involve the community in the planning and development of the communities. The district assemblies and communities have come to the knowledge that mineral royalties are for development of the communities and not for recurrent expenditure.
They believed that more information sharing and education of the stakeholders was important. When this was achieved, the stakeholders will be more willing to give out the needed information.
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