Stakeholders in the extractive industry have been tasked to make judicious use of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) to fastrack development in local communities.
To this end, it is incumbent on all stakeholders to participate in the disbursement of the Minerals Development Fund.
The move is to change the situation where most mining communities such as Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Obuasi among others, were not benefitting immensely from thé MDF thereby living in abject poverty.
A Policy Analyst, Dr. Seth Manteaw said this at a two-day training workshop for Local Management Committees (LMCs) in the Extractive Industry from four Districts of the Western Region.
The workshop is being attended by MMDCEs, traditional rulers, planning officers at the Assemblies, staff of the Minerals Development Secretariat and other stakeholders from four mining communities in the Western Region.
The workshop seeks to among other things, enhance the knowledge of all local management committees on the regulations and guidelines of the MDF in the Western Region.
Speaking on the Impact of the Minerals Development Fund, Dr Mantweaw said there were irregularities in sharing of mineral royalties which brought the Minerals Development Act and how the Mining Community Development Scheme (MCDS) addresses the irregularities.
He observed that a lot of opportunities abound in mining communities, but due to the absence of strategies, such communities remained poor and asked the LMCs to develop strategies to boost their local economies.
Dr. Mantweaw implored the LMCs to take advantage of the strategic opportunities for local production, adding that “It is sad that almost all mining companies are importing activated carbons which could be derived locally.”
The Administrator of the Minerals Development Fund Dr Norris Hammah in an interview told journalists that the training would equip the MMDCEs to manage the mineral fund to the development of their communities.
He advocated a prescribed structure for the disbursement of mineral royalties to ensure the well-being and development of the beneficiary communities.
Dr.Hammah said with the 20 percent share of the mineral royalties, the Assemblies must budget well for development.
The Country Director for World University Service of Canada,(WUSC), Madam Emelia Ayipio Asamoah stressed the need to build the capacity of MMDCEs to utilize revenues from mineral resources to address the basic needs and problems associated with mining.
She noted that the MDF was not released on a timely basis, adding that WUSC would ensure that it was released on time.
Madam Ayipio Asamoah said transparency and accountability were needed at the local level to ensure economic growth of the mining districts.
She said the fund should move away from other developmental projects to issues affecting women and the environment.