By Festus Lahai
The decision of the Sierra Leone Parliament to ratify the African Mineral Agreement on 19th August 2010 continues to receive wide condemnation with the latest coming from a civil society group called National Advocacy Coalition on the Extractive (NACE).
It could be recalled that prior to the ratification, NACE highlighted reasons as to why the Agreement should be amended before enactment. “But for the second time this year, legislation aiming to increase government revenues has been flouted.
The London Mining set the precedent in contravening the Mines and Minerals Act (MMA) regulations; this has now been followed by the African Minerals Agreement which flouts the MMA and the Income Tax Act. The concessions to African Minerals make a mockery of legislation that would increase government revenues and ensure fair, transparent practices in the mining sector,” states a press release issued by NACE on Monday September 13 2010.
NACE is astounded that the Sierra Leone Parliament approved ‘a flawed document despite knowing how it digressed from the legislation’.
According to the NACE release, the African Minerals Agreement is clouded in ambiguous language prone to manipulation or else openly flouts existing legislation in over 10 clauses. READ FULL PRESS RELEASE
“Sierra Leone is at a precipice – either we have mining agreements that are consistent with the law or we do not. Sierra Leone desperately needs an agreed, transparent legal regime to ensure that mining companies finally operate in ways that benefit Sierra Leoneans. If the African Minerals goes ahead, the new Mines and Minerals Act will become meaningless,” the release highlighted.
NACE has therefore called for what it described as an immediate recall of the agreement.