The Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to come clean on issues that are making the fight against illegal mining (Galamsay) murky.
According to him, the President’s answers to questions lingering on minds of many would help bring sanity to his Presidency.
Below Is The Statement Honorable Suhuyini Presented On The Floor Of Parliament Yesterday.
Thank you very much Rt. Hon Speaker for the opportunity to make this statement on the devastating effects of galamsay and our nation’s determination to end the illegal practice.
Mr Speaker, we ought to be sad that according to Global Forest Watch, in April 2019, the rate of deforestation in Ghana was estimated at 60%, which made it the worst in the world, largely due to illegal mining activities. 1.13 percent of primary forest was lost last year alone due in part to gold mined illegally.
Mr Speaker, It frightens me greatly that the Ghana Water Company Ltd (GWCL) has repeatedly warned that potable water importation in two decades is inevitable due to the destruction caused to our water bodies. They have been compelled lately to intermittently shut down some of their treatment plants or report increases in cost of chemicals and equipment repairs in order to continue to be in a position to supply treated water to our homes and work places.
Mr Speaker, the destruction of farmlands, especially cash crops, owing to illegal mining remains a constant feature in print and audio visual news stories and in the country side.
Mr Speaker, law abiding entrepreneurs in small scale mining are estimated to have lost more than half a billion dollars of their genuine investments in the course of an over two years ban on all their activities. This ban was ostensibly put in place to enable government streamline the sector to ensure sustainable development.
Mr Speaker, some of these investors in small scale mining who adhered to the ban but couldn’t withstand the financial stress it brought forth, according to Mr Francis Poku, Communication Director of the small scale miners association, have unfortunately lost their lives.
What is disappointing, Mr Speaker, is that according to an officer for international conservation group A Rocha, Daniel Kwamena, the ban only pushed more small-scale miners to work within the protected Atewa forest and others, operating at night when security officials are off duty.
Mr Speaker, government through this parliament committed millions of the tax payers money to streamline illegal mining for sustainable development.
According to the finance ministry, a quarterly amount of Ghc 33,423, 996 was released by the finance ministry to the Inter ministerial committee to help in the galamsey fight. It will mean that if the releases were constant and up to date, the nation through the inter-ministerial committee committed about
(Ghc 300,815,968.5) to this exercise.
Mr Speaker our cherished media devoted expensive airtime, precious spots in their newspapers and deployed personnel who risked their lives traversing mining areas across the country to highlight and support a national charge to streamline small scale mining to the benefit of all generations.
Civil society organizations, the clergy and some traditional authorities all got on board to support the exercise.
Mr Speaker, it is therefore depressing to many well-meaning Ghanaians to listen to recent daily reports of how it seems political patronage and the greed of a few have bungled an otherwise well supported campaign to improve our water bodies, Forest cover and environment in general.
Mr speaker, aside recently reported missing seized excavators, there was an undercover expose’ conducted by Anas Armiyawu Anas and Joy news, many of which stories have raised questions about the direction of the campaign and the commitment of officials, especially politicians to the success of the campaign.
This should be a cause for us all politicians to worry, especially when in September 2012, a University of Ghana Business School policy brief, by Benjamin A. Teacher, predicted in its summary of key findings “That the inherently political nature of the galamsey menace in Ghana suggests that any anti-galamsey crusade that fails to tackle the political drivers of the problem is unlikely to succeed.”
Mr Speaker, as leaders of the nation, never before has it become imperative at least in the face of these reports of murky political associations and conspiracies, for us to act to assure all citizens that their resources, confidence and support when reposed in us will not be in vain. HE the president who boldly put his presidency on the line to demonstrate how much this cause meant to him, if for nothing at all, has his presidency to save and it will be important that he starts by accounting for and to the people of Ghana, all equipments, vehicles, weapons, ammunitions and gold which were seized and kept by officers he commissioned to help end illegal mining and if necessary penalize all who are proven to have been negligent or complicit in what may have gone wrong.
Mr Speaker, in the face of what is clearly less than a successful campaign, I suggest humbly that your parliament also shows more interest in how funds approved for this exercise to the various institutions have truly been expended and the results attained, for these are funds belong to the people whose interest we, in all humility represent.
I thank you once again for indulging me.