Chamber of mines willing to pay royalties in gold bars

The Ghana Chamber of Mines says it is committed to paying dividends to Government in the form of gold bars rather than cash.

This is in response to a call made by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) that this will bring a lot more benefit to the State and also help address the phenomenon of mining firms defaulting in paying royalties to the State. The situation is said to have adversely affected government revenues and infrastructural development.

Campaign Coordinator of ISODEC, Dr. Steve Manteaw is urging Government to shift the paradigm.

For him, it would be prudent for Government “to calculate our carriage interest plus royalties and all other taxes and then constitute these as government take, and then take these in the form of gold and add value to them, in order to maximize benefits from its exports”.

Value-addition, he asserted, is the panacea to Ghana’s inability to derive the best from its gold.

He explained that “if you were to take royalties in kind, you can feed this in-kind gold into jewel making such that Government could be exporting jewelry which fetches more than exporting gold bars which fetches nothing.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines Sulemanu Koney indicated to Joy Business that the Chamber would be willing to pay royalties in gold bars.

Although the local economy stands to benefit from such an initiative, he said, the desired results would not be attained if structures are not put in place to ensure value is added to the gold that would be supplied to the state.

He cautioned Government against such a decision, saying that the jewelry and goldsmithing market in the country is virtually non-existent.

Mr. Koney stressed however that such a decision would only be of benefit to the state if Government took a decision to astronomically grow the local goldsmithing and jewelry industry.

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Institute full scale investigation into BOST allegations

A full-scale independent enquiry must be set up to investigate reports of corruption against employees of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company, this is according to the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper.

Kwesi Pratt said the revelations made in a comprehensive report prepared by Ernst and Young (E&Y), a renowned international accounting firm should not be taken lightly.

Speaking on Radio Gold’s ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’ programme, he said “a full scale independent enquiry” is the only thing that can establish the true facts.

A comprehensive audit report by E&Y on the BOST Company from 2006 has revealed massive corruption involving past and present officials of the company.

The report uncovered widespread corruption among senior BOST officials, some of whom still hold sensitive positions at various departments.

Officials of 16 Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) were also fingered in the act.

The report described as deliberate activities of top officials at BOST who supported the BDCs to rob BOST of petroleum products at the depots.

This has led to significant petroleum product losses that affected the national strategic reserve of petroleum products.

Those acts have led to heavy financial losses to BOST and the state as a whole.

However the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors has rejected the accusations leveled against them.

Senyo Hosi, Chief Executive of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors told Joy News the document the media relied on for their report was “totally doctored” and “fake”.

“I have every reason to suggest that none of the words reflect any audit yet to be commissioned,” he said.

Mr. Hosi said it would be impossible for the bulk oil distribution companies (BDCs) to overdraw from BOST under the period the disputed draft audit report claimed.

But Mr Pratt says the truth about the matter can only be known if an independent enquiry is made into the allegations.

He said the report is damning enough to thwart the efforts government is making to deal with corruption issues in the country.

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