Prestea (WR), Dec. 19, GNA – The Minerals Development Fund (MDF) is supporting a number of projects in the Central and Western regions to improve the standards of living of mining communities.

The Fund provided GHȼ3 Million this year to the Richie Plantations Limited, a firm that nurtures palm seedlings for farmers, in Dunkwa in the Central Region, for expansion

It also funded many infrastructural facilities in the Prestea Huni-Valley District and the University of Mines and Technology in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality of the Western Region.

These came to light when Madam Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni-Valley, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Dr Norris Hammah, the Fund Administrator and other government officials, inspected some projects being funded by the MDF in the Central and Western regions on Monday.

Madam Oteng-Gyasi, also a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said since 2008, the Prestea-Huni-Valley Assembly has received about GHȼ32 million from the MDF towards infrastructure development.

She said the MDF had supported the construction of the Prestea Huni-Valley District Assembly administration block, staff quarters, a Senior Technical High School block, toilet facilities for communities and furniture for basic schools in the area.

“The MDF has been beneficial to the people and ceding part of the funds for improving facilities in mining communities is a very good policy instituted by government and we are very grateful,” she said.

At the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, they inspected ongoing projects at the, which is being funded by the MDF.

Professor Jerry Kuma, the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, led the team to inspect some ongoing projects including a five-storey administration block, a two-storey classroom block and a sports facility.

The rest are; frontage walls for the University, a four-storey faculty block, a two-storey cafeteria block and a two-storey eight bedroom flat.

Prof. Kuma expressed concern that the MDF Act had been skewed against tertiary institutions, especially those that undertake research.

He said UMaT was the only University in the West African sub-region offering mining and producing human capital for industries.

He said the MDF allocating it only three percent of its disposable funds was woefully inadequate and called for a review of the laws establishing the Fund so that more financial resources would be allocated to the University for capacity-building.

“For instance, our Professors go to Kenya to do presentations in the universities and if necessary measures are not taken, we will be left behind and I believed that the MDF could support us,” he said.

Madam Oteng-Gyasi, in her response, said the MDF was initially geared towards improving infrastructure in the mining communities, hence the significant proportion of the proceeds were given to them.

She gave the assurance, the government would take a second look at the law and make the necessary adjustment.

The Deputy Minister said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was undertaking measures to operationalise the legislation.

The Minerals Development Fund was initiated by government followed with a Minerals Development Act, which was enacted by Parliament in 2016 to raise revenue from mineral royalties to support the development efforts of mining communities.

Source: GNA

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