The NPP led government in general and the Minister responsible Lands in particular deserve commendation for the 545 earth moving excavators seized so far within a very short period of the government’s resolve to fight illegal mining activities responsible for the massive destruction of Ghana’s environment and water bodies in particular across the length and breadth of the country.
Nevertheless we strongly urge the government to desist from adding it to its 103 achievements within its 100 days of coming into power and ask her to delete same from its 100 days achievements if already added for three important reasons. First, the destruction of environment and water bodies by illegal mining activities is a security threat to the good people of Ghana, who have been paying their taxes to pay and resource the security services of the State for protection from all security threats. Government has, therefore just fulfilled the duty of a normally working State. Second, the current fight against illegal mining has not been sustained as 100 days cannot be used to permanently solve or eradicate the problem. The Ghanaian public and the ordinary citizen of Ghana seek a permanent solution which cannot be achieved within days. Third, the need to protect environment must not be seen as a competition between political parties especially the NPP and NDC. We would end up overly jeopardizing the fight against the menace and being ridiculed by other politically civilized international communities and leaders.
The intention of government to employ the drone technology to police our river bodies is particularly spectacular but we also urge government to consider creating permanent security (especially Military) presence along or near important river bodies and courses across the length and breadth of the country.
It is also a strong belief and conviction of PIRAN that the present menace is a cumulative outcome of the persistent failure of governments since 1992 to diligently respect and adhere to the social and economic principles espoused and entrenched in the Chapter Six of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, apart from Article 34(2) of the same chapter of the Constitution, which had been followed to the letter since 1992. An average Ghanaian youth would never risk his/her life, education and health to engage in a dangerous economic activity for subsistence, if there were genuine alternative means of economic subsistence. Ghana is far below the conviction that the adherence to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), IMF and World Bank programmes and directions would lead to the fulfillment of the aspirations of her citizens. The respect for and a consistent implementation of the Directive Principles of State Policy by all governments since 1992 would have immensely helped to get the youth out of ‘galamsey jobs’ at the risk of themselves, the environment and posterity. We strongly urge the government to be consistent with all key election campaign manifesto such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory programmes to mention a few.
Small Scale Mining, both legal and illegal (Galamsey) is believed to contribute between 30% and 40% of all revenues from Gold Mining in the country. This is no mean achievement in terms contribution to Gross National Product (GNP) of Ghana. ‘One cannot remove intestines from his stomach and replace same with torn pieces of clothes’, so goes one Akan proverb, which speaks for itself. Ghanaians engaged in mining activities must not be made to feel they are ‘criminals’ by mining from their ‘own land’. It is the belief of PIRAN that Ghanaians engaged in Galamsey Mining be regulated and all stakeholders made to sign a Reclamation Bond. We urge the Nana Addo led government to ensure that small scale mining remains the preserve of indigenes. Foreigners must be excluded and banned from same.
It is within the long term Public Interest of Ghana that majority of all foreign exchange revenues from gold mining is directly owned by Ghanaians, and not repatriated to develop foreign countries. Long term efforts must be put in place to ensure that majority of the large scale mining concerns in the country become Ghanaian owned within the shortest possible time. Let us believe in Ghana and in Ghanaians.