Tarkwa — A seven-member Tarkwa Local Management Committee (LMC) to manage the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) was inaugurated here on Tuesday at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The MDF was set up to provide development projects for mining communities that have been negatively impacted by mining activities.
The Tarkwa LMC, which is chaired by Mr Bnejamin Assabil, an educationist, was in fulfillment of section (19) of Act 912, which seeks to facilitate the socio-economic development of mining communities in Tarkwa and its environs as well as mining communities across the country.
As part of the ceremony the MDF presented a cheque for GH₵ 1 million to the committee.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, who inaugurated the committee, noted that over the years, governments had made strides to establish laws and policies to govern the use of mineral royalties in the country.
He recalled that previously, all royalties were lodged and managed through the Consolidated Fund, but, the government in 2016, passed the Minerals Development Fund Act, (Act 912) with the main objective to provide financial resources for the direct benefit of mining communities.
According to the Deputy Minister, section 19 of the Minerals Development Fund Act (912), established the LMCs to oversee the direct development of mining communities and were required to produce a development plans consonant with the National Medium Development Plans.
The committee, Mr Owusu-Bio explained, would be resourced, through the 20 percent mineral royalties distribution under section 21 (3)(b) and donation from mining companies and other related businesses.
The Deputy Minister said it was the wish of the President that the LMC satisfied the will of the people of Tarkwa, and also champion the needs of people of mining communities.
Mr Owusu-Bio said, "we shall continue to introduce sustainable measures to counteract mining problems. We are also aware of the 12 per cent capping affecting the mineral royalties and we are in talks with the Finance Ministry to stop the capping on the MDF."
He hoped under the new strategic scheme, the development of Tarkwa would better reflect the wealth its soil produces, to eliminate agitations by the youth and also uplift the face of the area into the long-desired 'Gold City.'
The MDF Board Chairman, Madam Esther Adjeani, said the Tarkwa LMC was a recipe for socio-economic projects, which included sustainable alternative livelihood interventions for various mining communities, adding that " it will drive local sustainable development."
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Professor Jerry Kuma, appealed to the LMCs to consider education as an important part of their programmes anytime they disbursed funds to the communities.