The Ghana Mineworkers’ Union, (GMWU) has urged the government to consider the establishment of buffer enterprises in mining communities to offer alternative employment opportunities to sustain the local economies.
In a statement issued to congratulate mine workers ahead of the May Day celebrations it said “It is no secret that had it not been educational institutions, some mining communities can pass for ghost towns. This is no good image for a country which has enjoyed foreign exchange from mining for more than one hundred years.”
The statement said “Akwatia which was once an active mining town was a cash cow for the country, and not what it is today. One can imagine had it not been an educational institution like St. Roses SHS in the town what the situation would have been. The few years that AGA Obuasi mine was not operating the local economy was hard hit.”
“We therefore need a coherent plan that will outline plans for the mining sector and get the active involvement of the community and industry players. With Public Private Partnerships, PPP, we can sustain the local economies beyond mining and that is what our peers in the California in the United States of America, Australians and South African have done. So the gold rush logic to a large extent will be prevalent here as long as we do what is right,” the statement said.
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GMWU in the statement also called for a Presidential Special Initiative by the government to fix the poor roads and other infrastructure in the mining areas.
It said demonstrations in such communities in recent times obviously show the frustration of the people and the need for urgent action to fix the yawning infrastructure gap.
“The leadership of the GMWU recalled the President’s statement at a West Africa Mining and Power conference and Exhibition in 2018 in Accra, where he expressed anger at the infrastructure challenge in Ghana’s mining towns. It is on this note that the GMWU is advocating a Presidential Special Initiative (PSI), to comprehensively accelerate the execution of major projects, especially, the road networks in the mining communities,” the statement said.
Under the PSI, according to the statement, the government could as a matter of urgency make a special arrangement to encourage Public Private Partnership, PPP to address the infrastructure challenges in the mining towns.
It said advanced payment of royalties could be negotiated with mining companies with good balance sheet towards this initiative.
The statement also added that the minerals development fund could be tailored in that direction.
“Adopting a Presidential Special Initiative, coupled with the needed political will and the right leadership, Ghanaians can be assured of an unprecedented infrastructure development and many positive changes in the mining townships. We have lamented enough over the ugly infrastructure deficit in mining towns, let’s move beyond the talk,” the statement said.
“In order not to leave anyone out of May Day celebrations, there are discussions with employers across the mining industry to organise some unique events at the various mine sites for those who are unable to attend the national May Day parade,” the statement said.
This according to the statement would ensure that members feel part of this important day in the history of the working class world-wide.
By Times Reporter