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Government courts support of chiefs to fight galamsey

By
Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, July 10, GNA – Vice President Dr Alhaji
Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday said illegal mining otherwise known as ‘galamsey’
was a serious national issue that required concerted efforts by all
stakeholders.

He said lands were very important assets for
humanity and chiefs were the custodian and therefore, urged them to support
Government’s efforts to eradicate it, saying ‘destruction of the land is
undermining the chieftaincy institution’.

Vice President Bawumia said this when he
delivered a keynote address at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop
for traditional rulers and queen mothers on illegal mining in Accra.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of
Chieftaincy Affairs and Religious Affairs in collaboration with the
Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining.

He said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led
government was determined to stop galamsey and would require the chieftaincy
institution to play a pivotal role in stopping it.

The event attracted other key Ministers including;
the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister
of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena
Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of
the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, as well as Deputy Ministers of Trade and Lands
and Natural Resources.

The Vice President noted ‘’the destruction of
the land is destruction of Ghana’’ because land was the most important resource
of any nation and must therefore be handled with absolute care.

He said the population of the country was
rapidly increasing and there must be a comprehensive and holistic approach to
tackle illegal mining and protect the water bodies from further pollution.

He said government would initiate a multilateral
mining integrated project (MMIP) that would provide alternative livelihoods for
artisanal miners to ensure sustainable efforts in halting galamsey.

Vice President Bawumia said government was
determined to transform the economy to create employment and mentioned the
’Planting for Food and Jobs’ which was aimed at enhancing agricultural
productivity and production of food to feed the populace and export the surplus
for foreign exchange.

He said government had reduced fertilizer by
50 percent to farmers and improved seedlings and created mechanisation centres
to boost agricultural sector.

He said the government would establish an
Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium industry this year as a platform to revamp the
railway sector, adding that it would reconstruct Accra-Kumasi, Takoradi-Kumasi
and Kumasi-Paga rail lines.

In addition, he said Government would
construct 1,050 kilometres of roads and 90 bridges across the country in the
next two years, to ensure accessibility to agricultural centres which
facilitate the carting of goods and services.

He added that the Boankara and Buipe Inland
ports would be constructed as part of the government’s infrastructure drive to
transform the economy.

Touching on the flagship government programme ‘One
district, One factory’ he said it had secured two billion dollars to start the
project, adding ‘‘we’re on course in transforming the economy and creating
jobs’’

Dr Bawumia noted that as part of efforts in
ensuring sustainable economic growth, government scrapped some nuisance taxes
in this year’s budget including taxes on spare parts and disclosed that
Parliament had passed the legislation to waive those taxes and soon spare parts
dealers would witness the benefit.

The Vice President indicated that 25 district
health facilities would be constructed to enhance the delivery of health
services

For his part, Togbe Afede XIV, the President
of the National House of Chiefs and chairman for the occasion, said corruption
was the root cause of galamsey and noted that it was scary about the
unimaginable harm the menace would cause to the unborn generation, saying ‘’it
is our responsibility to protect the environment’’.

He urged the government to also wage war
against other illegal activities such as sand-winning, illegal logging and
other unlawful practices that were undermining the environment.

The Minister of Environment, Science,
Technology and Innovation, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who doubled as the
chairperson of inter-ministerial committee, said illegal mining was a double
burden because it had to deal with climate change and man-made problems like
illegal mining.

GNA

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