The World Bank was yesterday reported to have began the process to release the $50 million dollars financial commitment to Ghana, to help address challenges of illegal mining in the country, popularly known as galamsey.

The Country Director of the Bank in Ghana, Henry Kerali, reaffirmed the commitment of the bank at a meeting with the Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, during a tour of World Bank funded projects in the Western Region, on Tuesday.

We laud the efforts of the World Bank in making available the financial and technical support to address a major challenge facing our developmental agenda, and we want to appeal to the Mr Kerali to expedite the process for Ghana to access the facility to help deal with the challenge at hand. Afterall, a stitch in time saves nine.

Indeed, the government by its action, shown great concern the menace of illegal mining and captured it in the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies 2017-2024 thus: “The upsurge in illegal artisanal mining (galamsey) in particular has resulted in the destruction of forest and farmlands, pollution of water bodies and an increase in truancy, especially among school-going males in mineral-rich communities.”

The country’s medium term development plan further lamented that “This presents a major threat to the peace, stability, and socioeconomic development of the country. This situation has come about due to the weak enforcement of the relevant environmental and mining laws and regulations.”

Currently, the government has placed a ban on small scale mining, including illegal mining (galamsey) and an Inter-Ministerial Task Force established to regulate the sector with the “Operation Vanguard” taskforce mandated to arrest recalcitrants’ illegal miners who flouted the law.

In addition, the government is implementing a five –year Multilateral Mining Integrated Programme to reform the sector and also provide alternative livelihoods to people affected persons.

Another major aim of the government is the restoration of degraded lands and water bodies to avert environment disaster in the country.

TO do that, the government needs resources to plan and carry out the projects to address and in restore the environment, as well as to ensure that people who make a living through mining do not suffer from deprivation.

That is why, we welcome the financial and technical support from the World Bank to assist in the efforts to address, once and for all, the challenges associated with illegal mining, to put the country on the path to sustainable development.

While commending the World Bank for its support, we condemn all those who have through deliberate activities, actions or inaction contributed to the mess we find ourselves.

The questions are how can a country that is aspiring to become a middle income earner, destroy it environment and borrow money to repair it? How are we expected to overcome poverty, if we continue to expend money on negative made activities, that could have been avoided.

We have been here before and at that time, strategies to deal with the illegal mining did not work well, but, we are hopeful that a lot of lessons have been learnt from the previous attempts to address the problem and that, the current strategy must not fail.

We are very sure the World Bank is channelling resources at the right place in helping the country to achieving a sound and environmentally- friendly mining, toward the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.











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