The Federation of Ghana Goldsmiths and Jewellers Association (FGJA) has called for the establishment of a board to regulate the jewellery industry.
According to the association, the industry was at a stage of collapse due to the lack of raw materials and a board to direct affairs.
The President of the FGJA, Mr Shallovern Srodah, who made the call, observed that the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited (PMMC), an agency that was mandated by law to regulate and promote the jewellery industry, was burdened with other supervisory duties, hence the need for a special body to complement its efforts.
“The jewellery industry is a very serious entity because it employs thousands of Ghanaians. The PMMC forgot about us until recently. The industry is lacking effective regulation. Just as it has been done for other industries, we also call for the establishment of a special board to supervise the growth of the industry,” he said.
Mr Srodah made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a stakeholder meeting between the PMMC and players in the jewellery industry.
The meeting was to deliberate on matters affecting the growth of the sector and the welfare of its operators.
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It was on the theme: “Forging a partnership for our mutual benefit and national development.”
Ban on mining
Addressing the participants earlier, Mr Srodah said the protracted ban on small-scale mining was depriving the operators in the jewellery industry of adequate raw materials for its operations.
He said most of its players had resorted to the purchase of ornaments from individuals for production, a situation he lamented had kicked most of them out of business.
“The small-scale miners were our source of raw materials. Unfortunately, they have all been tagged as illegal miners. Our only source of gold now is the sale of ornaments. That is not enough per the quantity required. We do not have enough resources to work with and that is collapsing the industry,” the president added.
Mr Srodah, therefore, called on the government to expedite steps to lift the ban on small-scale mining to enable them to procure enough raw materials to ply their trade.
The president further stated that the invasion by foreign nationals of the gold business was affecting the ability of local players to compete successfully.
He said although the foreigners were by law refrained from the sale of gold-related products on the local market, failure on the part of authorities to enforce the law had encouraged the practice.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the PMMC, Dr Kojo Opare-Hammond said the company would soon embark on an exercise to license operators in the jewellery industry as part of efforts to sanitise the sector.
“We are going to ask all those who have been licensed as small-scale miners to sell their gold to specific people who have been authorised by the PMMC to buy and deal in gold,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of the PMMC to collaborate with the leadership of the FGJA to resolve challenges in the sector.