July 4, 2019
By Mohamed Konneh
With funding provided by Oxfam UK, the Network Movement for Justice and Development has facilitated the Development of MOU to support the smooth roll out of the public disclosure of Community Development Fund (CDF) with the Private sector and the Community Development Committees (CDCs).
The process of the facilitation was done through a forum bringing together stakeholders from mining enclaves including mining officials.
The objective of the project that funded this activity is to increase domestic resources (tax and extractive revenues), managed transparently and redistributed equitably by local and national government the aggregated felt needs of citizens and communities.
Presenting an overview of the meeting, NMJD Programme Officer Emmanuel Gbondo said the project is expected to Institutionalized public disclosure by private sector, local and national government of annual revenue generation and disbursement. The project targets mining companies, Community Development Committee (CDC) from Bonthe, Moyamba and Kono districts and Journalists working on mining and extractive issues.
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An MOU expresses a convergence of the will between both parties and will therefore serves as a signal to move forward. It is essential that mining communities, CDCs, civil society and journalists are informed on various revenue streams that are ceded to communities as communal benefits to boost development of affected mining jurisdictions.
Mr. John Momo, Programme Manager, NMJD highlighted the relevance of the CDA as well as presenting to participants the Obligations of the Mineral Rights Holders to the Community and Rights and Obligations of Communities in the CDA said the project has series of objectives.
Mr. Momo said the event is to facilitate a conversation between CDCs and mining companies on the CDA implementation process with respect to successes and challenges. But most importantly, to develop and produce MoU between CDC and private sector to institutionalize public disclosure with respect to the CDF and to identify ways to collaborate with both electronics and print media in identifying their role on methods of publicizing the CDA implementation and the gains made therein.
Dr. Emmanuel Gaima facilitated among others a Session on how CDCs and Mining companies can collaborate with the Media, he further stated that the Media plays a vital role in the development of a nation and that the media has the power of wider coverage (far and wide).
“Your role as Media people and Houses makes the CDC process credible or discredited and because of the need for credibility it is important that the Media always sends out accurate messages to the people. The role of the media is to communicate in simple terms what the discussions are, what the concerns of the people and how both can work together for the benefit of the country and host communities in particular” Dr. Emmanuel Gaima reiterated.
“The meeting created an opportunity for interface between both the community development committee and mining companies on the need to publicly disclose their annual turnover and disbursement in a bid to promote transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. This serves as a platform for engaging the private sector to not only enlighten them on the importance of disclosure but also to update them on the progress of the disclosure process and also instill in them the need to follow-up and stay involved in the process even after remitting the monies into the CDF” Dr. Gaima said.
The Lead facilitator stated that the media’s (Print and electronic, journalists) involvement in the meeting to develop the MoU and to later witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties which shows their commitment to the process. And by this they will be able to pass on accurate, reliable and up-to-date information to the wider populace.
The participatory meeting witnessed by the Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Rutile Limited who made a commitment that they as a Company will be deeply involved in taking the MoU development discussions forward even after the One-day interactive meeting on the MoU. Koidu Limited was Represented by their Public Relations Officer, whilst (VIMETCO) LTD although invited to the event was conspicuously absent without any excuse.
The One-day interactive ensured that the Mining company representatives and CDCs members present mapped out strategy for information dissemination that will promote transparency and accountability in the sector. The meeting however produced a draft MoU indicating roles and responsibilities of both parties, consistent with the draft CDA Model Agreement 2014. Hence a platform is set for information flow and clarity on issues relating to the use of the CDF.