The Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the Member of Parliament for Asutifi South Constituency, has asked the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to actively involve the galamsey players in its national consultative forum.
The Akufo-Addo government on April 16, 2021 held a three day national consultative forum in its quest to eradicate the menace of illegal mining on our environment and particularly, on our water bodies.
This national dialogue comes after the Akufo-Addo government seemingly failed to carry along all the stakeholders in his first term of government and subsequently lost the fight against galamsey using the military and force.
Speaking in an interview on Masemtvgh on Thursday, April 22, 2021, the Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Collins Dauda blamed the ”big” mining companies in the communities of not giving out major employment opportunities to the locals whose lands have been taken over by these companies.
”The big mining companies do not help in the fight against illegal mining because the youth in the communities are not given the needed employment by these companies as they expected and this leads to the youth to engage in galamsey”.
To Hon Collins Dauda, though the government has began consultations with stakeholders, he was not enthused as to why the three day forum did not have a representation from galamsey players and urged the ministry to engage and involve them on how to comeout with viable policies that well get everyone onboard to collectively fight against the manace.
According to the Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, one of the reasons that influence the activities of galamsey has to do with instant money the players offer to land owners and other local authorities.
”Since November 2020, government has delayed in releasing royalties to beneficiary chiefs and this has equally be a problem to the fight. Government owes royalties to chiefs in mining communities and this can be in arrears up to six months”.
He explained that the 20 percent royalties from mining companies are first deposited with the Minerals Commission. The Commission later releases it to the Minerals Development Fund and a part of the percentage paid to the chiefs as royalties.
The Former Minister expressed optimism in the recently held consultative forum and likened the situation of galamsey to the emergence of akpeteshie on the market some years ago.
”Akpeteshie faced a strong resistance on our market at a time when people wanted to openly trade in it. The government then has to comeout to establish a commission to provide guidelines to regulate it and today, Akufo-Addo government in the last State of the Nation Address, acknowledged the need to export the product for foreign exchange”.
The Former Minister admitted that the activities of galamsey have negative impact on our environment, he urged the government not to lose sight of the positive gains in small scale mining.
”Though there are other negative impacts of galamsey on our water bodies and the environment at large, the activities provide a huge sources of employment and a daily living to majority of the youth” and admonished the government to comeout with better employment options as alternatives for those who engage in this deadly daily activities.