Create a comprehensive policy to regulate CSR by mining firms – MMDCEs

Create a comprehensive policy to regulate CSR by mining firms – MMDCEs

Some Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives in mining areas across Ghana want a law to back the Corporate Social Responsibility projects being implemented by mining operating in their jurisdictions.

They are appealing for such projects to be seen as Community-driven Development and should meet the needs of residents in such communities.

Over the years, mining companies, through their CSR projects, sought to meet the needs of residents of their operational communities.

Such projects are mostly discretionary, and most residents in mining communities have criticised mining firms for not championing developmental projects to mitigate their plights.

They laid bare their sentiments when the Chairman of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) Board, Kwaku Sakyi Addo, recently inspected some projects funded by the MDF.

“If you go to Latin America, Europe and other places where mining takes place, their mining laws are totally different from what we operate here. I did my CSR for my first degree and I got to know that, in Ghana, there is no law backing CSR. Mining companies use their own discretion. If they decide to teach a community how to rear snails, that is what they will do. But if there is a law backing CSR, the law can say that no mining company should spend this percentage of their CSR budget on any other project but only capital intensive projects,” one of the MMDCEs said.

Another Chief Executive added that because such supports are discretionary, the initiative a mining firm may want to undertake may not be in tandem with what community members want.

“It depends on where they want to channel that CSR to. Maybe the mining company may be interested in channelling the CSR budget into human resources development, but the community might be interested in physical projects.”

Another Chief Executive said: “In our district, for instance, we have SRF forum, which consists of assembly members, chiefs, and other opinion leaders. So we sit down and decide what we need and pitch it to the mining firms” but noted that “when you have a legal framework, backing it [CSR], then that will be better.”

Though there are a number of policies and initiatives which together provide the CSR framework in Ghana, there is no comprehensive CSR policy or law in the country.

Due to this, nine Members of Parliament in July 2019 laid a Private Member’s motion to have the House pass a law to streamline and mainstream corporate social responsibility. The motion is yet to yield any positive result.

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