The fight against illegal mining has received a boost following the government’s decision to increase the compensation budget allocation for the Minerals Commission from GH¢28.62 million in 2018 to GH¢63.55 million
,. This represents an increase of 122 per cent .
This came to light when the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MNLR) met the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Lands and Forestry and Mines and Energy to discuss the ministry’s 2019 budget estimates.
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The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, told the committee that about 137 technical staff and 550 mining guards would be recruited by the Minerals Commission in 2019 to help fight ‘
The committee commended the ministry for taking such a bold step to bridge the human resource had which had constrained the operations of the Minerals Commission over the years.
In total, the Minerals Commission was allocated an amount of GH¢101.19 million for its programmes and activities for the 2019 financial year.
Out of this amount, GH¢27.7 million was allocated for goods and services, GH¢9.8 million was allocated for capital expenditure and GH¢63.5 million was allocated for compensation.
Programmes for 2019
The committee noted that the commission would continue the implementation of the Accelerated Learning Programmes (ALP) in mining communities to provide non-mining jobs for the unemployed youth and also establish 7,500ha of oil palm plantation which is expected to create about 8000 jobs.
As part of efforts to improve governance in the mining sector, the commission is also expected to review reports on the implementation of guidelines on corporate social responsibility projects in mining communities.
It also plans to monitor and evaluate the use of mineral royalties by MMDAs, using annual tracking mechanisms, as well as enforce provisions of the Minerals and Mining Regulations on local content.
The commission will also conduct mineral exploration to identify viable areas for licensing to small-scale miners.
Budget estimates for ministry
On the budget estimates for the MLNR, the committee indicated that the ministry was allocated GH¢525.91 million for its programmes and activities for the 2019 financial year.
Out of this amount, GH¢213.73 million, representing 41 per cent of the entire allocation was for compensation; GH¢231.60 million, representing 44 per cent for goods and services and GH¢80.57 million, representing 15 per cent for capital expenditure.
The capital expenditure is expected to be largely funded by development partners who are contributing about 44 per cent of the allocation, with 42 per cent also expected from internally generated funds.