Managing editor of the Insight Newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Junior has noted that galamsey is not the only problem facing the mining sector of the economy, but there are other pressing issues concerning the sector that need to be addressed. He said that in a submission on Pan African TV's talk show dubbed, 'Alhaji and Alhaji'.
For the past few days, the fight against galamsey has once again become a topical issue on various media platforms across the country. Despite the vigour with which the current NPP government fought illegal mining in the country, the act still persists.
A few days ago, it was reported that government had sent a troop of soldiers to the various mining areas to curb the activities of galamsey operators. This measure has erupted lots of reactions from various communicators in the country.
Yesterday on Pan African TV's talk show, 'Alhaji and Alhaji', the topic for discussion was, 'Government Returns Soldiers to Mining Areas.' Mr. Kwesi Pratt, making a submission on the topic, noted that in as much as the fight against galamsey is important, we shouldn't forget that it is not the only problem facing the mining sector.
According to him, the whole of the mining industry needs a second look. Ghana has been mining gold for a very long time, but yet when the rich and powerful in the society want to acquire gold chains, watches and the rest, they go to countries like Dubai and so on.
That is a clear indication that there has not been much value addition of gold in the country. Almost all the gold mined in the country is shipped abroad for value addition, which helps create employment for nationals of other countries, whiles locals wallow in unemployment. That clearly is an issue government must also give attention to.
Even from the gold that is exported out of the shores of the country, how much do we get? Almost nothing! Mr. Kwesi Pratt disclosed that the Bank of Ghana signed a foreign exchange retention agreement with mining companies, which allows them to keep up to 98% of the total value of gold exported out of the country.
That means Ghana benefits only about 3% of the total value of gold exported out of the country. By inference, we gain almost nothing from the industry, and we must be worried.
The managing editor went further to reveal that under General Acheampong, Ghana had laws that insisted that no mining operation could go on in the country unless Ghana had 55% stake in the enterprise, and so it is very sad that it has dropped to about 3%.
Before, Ghana used to have a golden share in the gold mining company, AngloGold Ashanti that enabled us to have a casting vote in the decisions of the board. However, according to Mr. Pratt, under President Kuffour, we decided to sell that golden share.
So today, when the company's board meet to take decisions regarding our gold, we don't have a say as a country. So clearly, in as much as the fight against galamsey is important, there are other equally important issues that government should look at in order for the country to benefit fully from our mineral resources.
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