“On Visiting Scholars and Ghana’s Mineral Revenue -Thoughts on My Long Essay” by Adzo Baku.

Four years into your study at the School of law, you look back and consider that the journey has indeed, never a day been easy. Many are pulling their weight to cross the finish line, and of course, to do so in grand style. You happen to be one of them, only that your story may be a bit different.

You see, there’s a twist when a visiting scholar in the person of the “Long Essay” decides to visit your school. Many are those who avoid his gaze. For the obvious reason that it is a bit too much added intensity to your already intense study of law.

Out of curiosity, or maybe not, you decide to draw nearer. Being a visiting scholar, he may most likely have a word or two for you. Mustering all the courage in the world, you decide to approach him for a tête-à-tête. You discover that he is not so scary after all. Okay maybe, he still is- a bit. That notwithstanding, you decide to probe further, and you discover, that his presence is to assist you achieve a feat, both challenging and interesting, all by yourself. He’s simply here to help you fill a gap, where you may have found one.

“What are the grey areas in our law that may have sparked your interest?”, the most important question.

 On your personal journey of studying the law, you have been particularly interested in the discovery of commercial quantities of petroleum in 2007 and its subsequent production in 2010. It strikes you as even more interesting, that the sagacious law makers were quick to enact a revenue administration law on the 11th of April, 2011 barely a year after commercial production began. Conversely, you are quick to note the disturbing fact that your country which has been faithfully involved in large scale mining for more than a century, has NO CENTRAL LEGISLATION for the management of its revenue.

At present, the mining sector’s revenue is mainly channelled into the consolidation fund to finance a variety of projects. Since mineral resources are finite in nature it is necessary that the revenue is utilised in such a way that the needs of the present generation will be met without jeopardizing the ability of the future generations to meet their needs, among other considerations.

Determined you are to make a case, and a very strong one at that, for the establishment for a Mining Revenue Management fund. This obviously will not be bereft of uncertainty of what the future holds, not forgetting uncertainties about your place to advise “wiser-than-thou law makers”.

Nevertheless, you stay put! Determined and focused to cross the finish line, with your very own answer to the visiting scholar, in the person of the product of your own mind, a well-researched recommendation on the need for the enactment of a central legislation for the collection and management of mining revenue in Ghana.

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