When Ghana's first mining-specific legislation, PNDC Law 153, was enacted in 1986, the law was heralded as a shining example of best practice by many. The legislation sought to provide a stable policy environment in addition to significant financial incentives, as a means of encouraging investment. The replacement of the 1986 law with the Minerals and Mining Act in 2006, developed with technical assistance from the World Bank, represented a continued focus on investment promotion.
Many of the fiscal incentives in the 1986 law were retained or, in some cases, enhanced. The success of these mining codes in promoting investment is clear, with mining output increasing significantly since 1986. However, the increase in mining levels does not necessarily equate to better development outcomes for Ghana.
This paper examines one key change that occurred in the shift to the new mining code - the removal of the additional profits tax. This tax was intended to ensure that Ghana benefits from any windfall profits derived from higher commodity prices. Its removal raises an issue as
to whether Ghana has the right fiscal regime to ensure that it derives full benefits from recent and future increases in commodity prices (particularly gold). Drawing on recent tax policy literature on the benefits and practicality of a 'rent' tax, this paper suggests that serious consideration should be given to reintroducing such a windfall profits tax into Ghana's mining legislation.