The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has described former President John Dramani Mahama as a conman who failed to honour promises his administration made towards the growth of the mining sector.
His comments come after the former President delivered what they consider as an unfavourable assessment of government’s anti-galamsey efforts over the weekend.
Speaking at the National Democratic Congress (NDC’s) unity walk in Kumasi on Saturday, he described the government’s approach in the anti-galamsey campaign as counterproductive.
“…it is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country, but it didn’t work.”
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However, in a scathing response to Mr. Mahama, the Lands Minister called on small-scale miners and the general public to disregard the comments, stating that he [Mahama], did not make any meaningful impact on the sector in his four years in charge of the country.
John Peter Amewu also stated in an interview with Citi News that in less than two years, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had “created 12 mining districts and 33 satellite districts,” decentralizing the sector and bringing the resources closer to the people in the mining communities.
“What has Mahama been able to do? Today, we have created a lot of mining districts, we’ve created 12 mining districts and 33 satellite districts. We are bringing mining back to the decentralization level. The small-scale mining which was in the status quo was supposed to have mining communities. These were not inaugurated in all the years Mahama was President, we have just inaugurated them, bringing mining to the community of the owners of the resources. Decentralization, this is the approach, so I am so disappointed in [Mahama]. He cannot address the problems. I’m telling the small-scale miners that this gentleman is a con man. He’s deceiving them and if they dare go in for him just because of galamsey, this country will come down.”
He also assured Ghanaians that Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) will be launched once the President gives his assent to the document.
Describing President Nana Akufo-Addo as the most “honest man in the world,” Mr. Amewu urged voters to retain him in office as he had a vision for the mining sector.
“The document has been laid. We’re waiting for the President to come, immediately he comes, this document is going to be approved and that is the way forward…They should follow the honest man in this world, the most honest person who is ruling this country. Nana Akufo-Addo has the alternative to address the small-scale mining and we will do that, not President Mahama, he has failed.”
The Government in July 2017 stated that ending the illegal mining menace, known as galamsey, will cost about $150 million.
This was captured in the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) document put together by the government.
In the document, the amount is supposed to be financed by statutory funds such as the Mineral Development Fund and an annual budgetary allocation from Government.
Other sources of funding include partnerships with Diplomatic Missions (Funding/Technical Support), Civil Societies, Corporate bodies and other funding organizations through PPP [Public Private Partnership] arrangements among others.
50% of the amount is expected to come from funding partners, 20% from Government of Ghana, 20% from PPP and the rest of the 10% from corporate bodies.
The government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in January 2017, also placed a six-month ban on the issuance of licenses for small-scale mining and directed all illegal miners to cease the practice and evacuate from the various sites.
The ban was extended by three months in October 2017, and further in March 2018.
Government also set up a task force, known as Operation Vanguard to help enforce the ban and clamp down on illegal mining following renewed concerns about the state of the environment.