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24
Fri, Nov

Manage mineral resources effectively — Speaker

Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has called for the effective management of the country's mineral resources by governments.

He said the current situation in which people in authority managed mineral resources with scant regard was a disservice to the country and the future generation whose success would depend on the dividend of those resources.

Prof. Oquaye made the call in Accra last Tuesday at a Speaker's Breakfast forum with stakeholders on the challenges in the gold mining sector and the lessons for the gas sector.

The forum was an opportunity for legislators, policy makers and civil society organisations to deliberate on the issues affecting the extractive sector and map out strategies to address them.

Protection of resources

Prof. Oquaye said per the Ghana Land Law and the customary law, resources belonged to the dead, the living and those yet unborn.

Therefore, he said, every generation was duty bound to protect the resources for the future generation.

Prof. Oquaye said all mineral contracts should be placed before Parliament for ratification.

That, he said, would give meaning to the true position of Parliament as an institution consisting of representatives of Ghanaians.

Rich in resources

The Speaker of Parliament said Ghana had been mining gold for several decades, with the country being the second gold producing country in Africa after South Africa.

However, he said, Ghana did not have much to show in terms of the contribution of gold to national development.

He said several countries that produced gold had managed the sector so judiciously that the dividend had transformed their respective societies.

"Our peers are poles apart. They have done right, we have done wrong," he said.

Accountability

A member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, said the lack of a national vision, policies and legislations on the mineral sector had denied the country the opportunity to derive the needed benefits from the oil and gold sectors.

He said it was for that reason that the country, which had been mining for more than 100 years, ended up as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2000, which he described as an indictment on the country.

Dr Manteaw said the mining sector continued to be an enclave and not linked to the rest of the national economy.

He proposed that the country should focus on producing jewellery from gold ore instead of exporting the raw gold bars.

Dr Manteaw said that would create jobs and create wealth which would significantly impact the national economy.