mining companies ground rent concessions stool land

While Ghana Mining Companies Don't Pay Rent ...
compensation discount homeowners leaseholders arbitrator iwi

Fiji and an Iwi Find Ways to Collect Rents

Some authorities can’t recover what’s owed the community, but some can. We trim, blend, and append three 2012 articles from: (1) Ghana’s City & Business Guide, Aug 20, on miners by E.E. Abbey; (2) Fiji Times, Aug 11, on discounts by N. Swami; and (3) New Zealand Herald, Aug 13, on a arbitration by A. Gibson.

by Emelia Ennin Abbey, by Nasik Swami, and by Anne Gibson

Over the years all mining companies in Ghana have not paid even the paltry sum of GH50p annually for ground rent per acre of land under concessions entrusted to them, though the mining companies do continue to exploit the nation’s non renewable resources.

Government’s proceeds from mining comes in the form of taxes, ground rent, and royalties among others which has been described as inadequate considering the potential the sector holds in transforming the local economy.

The Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (“crown” land) stopped collecting the rate from the mining companies as the amount was so low it did not make economic sense to spend so much in collecting such a small amount.

Mining has dire consequences on the health, environment, and livelihood of the people. The operations of two multinationals in the last five years have displaced 50,000 people, destroying their farms, homes, and livelihood.

Mining in Ghana is associated with pollution and the destruction of water bodies in addition to sacred groves.

Mining companies pay one-off compensation of about GH¢20.00 for a cocoa tree, which may not cover the farmer’s earnings from a cocoa tree for one year.

The unpaid compensations translate into subsidies that the poor farmers provide to the multinational companies.

To read more

JJS: It’s the old resource curse: corrupt government splits the rental value of nature, leaving little or nothing for the people. But that’s when the user of the nature is a rich and powerful corporation. When it’s ordinary homeowners, in some nations the outcome is sometimes different.

Following discount incentives, the Housing Authority of Fiji managed to collect $600,000 for ground rent from May till July this month.

In May, an 8 per cent discount was introduced to encourage homeowners to pay their ground rent accounts.

The ground rent discount was re-introduced this year because of the impact of the floods in the first quarter of 2012 and was anticipated to benefit 13,000 Housing Authority leaseholders.

To read more

JJS: In a society where corruption is not so rife, then even the aboriginal people can win some land rent from some powerful corporations.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board has won a big victory in a long-running dispute over the value of its land near Auckland's waterfront.

A professional arbitrator has ruled the iwi's (the tribe’s) land at the apartment complex Parnell Terraces at 18-24 The Strand is worth $12.3 million, the higher end of the scale.

That means the lessees who own hundreds of townhouses and apartments and paid no rent for 15 years will now have to pay steep new annual ground rent fees.

That decision will also set a precedent for other property owners on the entire 20ha, including corporates in high-rise office blocks and other apartment dwellers.

The arbitration ruling from retired High Court judge Robert Fisher QC did not support the arguments by experts for the leaseholders who sought values around half the iwi's.

At stake are the annual fees to be paid by owners of 317 apartments and townhouses in a group of streets at the bottom of Parnell.

Ngati Whatua can charge an annual 6 per cent of the unimproved value of the ex-railway land, so the argument over many weeks in a Lumley Centre boardroom on Shortland St was over the worth of the ground between Quay St and The Strand.

To read more

JJS: These are real world models of geonomics, of society recovering its socially-generated value of land. If a few places can do it, then many more should be able to. It all depends, of course, upon people seeing that the profit from locations and natural resources in the ground belong to them, and that the value of an individual’s wages and sales and buildings do not belong to the “iwi” but to the individual who produces them. Once people grasp that, that proper sense of property, of what’s yours, what’s mine, and what’s ours, then they can recover even more rents, eliminate the rest of their taxes, and spread prosperity to everyone, in harmony with nature. It works, so what are we waiting for?

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Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

Why Should Lands And Houses In Ghana Be Sold
http://www.progress.org/2011/otchere.htm

While some governments recover rents …
http://www.progress.org/2011/ground.htm

Most Nations Fail to Recover Their Own Worth
http://www.progress.org/2011/fijirent.htm

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