Small-scale mining forms an important sector of Ghana’s economy, employing one million people directly and supporting the livelihoods of about 4.5 million people. The industry accounts for 35% of the country’s total gold production.
Although Ghana requires permits to mine on a small scale, it is estimated that about 70% of small-scale miners are unregistered and operate illegally. They are known locally as galamsey, meaning to “gather and sell”.
The government has within the past few days declared "Operation Halt II" aimed at removing all persons and logistics involved in mining on water bodies. In as much as I agree with the government to some extent, the root causes of the mining must rather be tackled first, and this will in it self eliminate the mining problem.
We are all aware the 400 Military Personnel deployed to carrying out this assignment of "Operation Halt II" have been allocated huge budget and it is a worry because as far as the root causes remain, the fight against galamsey can't be permanently won.
The people are unemployed, the people are hungry, a lot of family pressures , unavailability of daily survival, hardships everywhere, high rental rates, astronomical increment in goods and services and corruptions at high levels to the detriment of the masses; so if all these root causes are not tackled and rather, "fat" budgets are apportioned to fighting this galamsey menace, you are inadvertently creating more problems in the country than the galamsey effects.
It is no coincidence that children are killing other children for money RITUALS, daily armed robberies, contract killings for cash , high rate of frauds in the system, and what have you? Life must still go on. The people will have to feed themselves and loved ones and have shelter. Even when galamsey was not extremely surbotaged, such social menace was on the rise. I dare not think about now, now that all the youth involved will have to stay at home and be unemployed.
As a concerned citizen and a youth for that matter, it is my humble plea that the government as a matter of urgency should divert attention and resources meant for the" Operation Halt II", or at least part of it to setting up young entrepreneurs in agribusiness across the country.
Right from our Junior High Schools, we've been taught how the country can be self reliant and the predominant solution is feedind the agricultural sector with the needed resources. Government should, through Ministry Of Labour and Employment and Local Government, set up "Readily Available And Accessible Capital" to giving employments and jobs to those willing to venturing into agribusiness to feeding the nation with the needed raw materials. This must be done without political affiliation and embezzlement from the very people setting it up. Transparency and Accountability must be the pivotal guides in carrying out this policy.
I know and believe any reasonable youth will opt for legal and well earning job and businesses to involving in galamsey menace, but due to aforementioned Root Causes, they have no option than risking their lives. Address those root causes and the first against glasses will be fought better angle that burning excavators which is just boiling the blood of the owners. After all, the deployed military men can't be patrolling our water bodies and forests forever, and the resources we are spending on them won't solve the problem permanently.
The government should first attend to the causes of a problem than solving the effects only, which in turn will cause more effects than the obvious. You can't solve a problem by generating more problems, the government should reconsider their decision and give us the best way forward.
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