Some local companies and suppliers of the Ghana Manganese Company Limited have asked the government to compel the mining company to urgently settle debt owed them.
The companies and suppliers, which prefer to remain anonymous, said their attempts to retrieve the debts have resulted in victimisation and threats from the mining company.
In an interview with Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra, a representative of one of the local companies, said, it was facing “extreme financial difficulty and on the verge of collapse” owing to delays in payment of goods and services rendered the mining firm.
“The excuse from them has always been that because of the huge investment outlay in the mines, they are cash-strapped. But we know they produce and export it so there is money but they have simply refused to pay,” he said.
Other local companies and suppliers which requested for fast payments, he added, were threatened to be replaced by other companies and suppliers.
The situation, he said, continues to cripple the companies who have been forced to deal with increased bank loan costs and other operational costs.
“We have invested all we have because of the local content law to be able to participate in our businesses. Some secured loans from banks just to be able to meet the needs of Ghana Manganese Company Limited. The non-payment for these goods and services is troubling for us and this is compounded with the banks breathing on our necks,” the representative stated.
Presently, he said he was aware the mining company has started to import its own machines and equipment to undertake some mining activities which per the local content law was the preserve of local companies and suppliers.
In the face of all these challenges, he said, it was imperative the government intervenes to protect the interest of the local companies and suppliers as well as ensure strict compliance of the law.
Another representative suggested to the mining firm to be truthful to the local companies and suppliers and engage them on an agreed payment plan to offset the debt.
“It is business. Although, we have not been paid, we continue to supply them and offer our services. It is important they speak to on an agreed payment plan to pay off the debt. What is necessary now is continuous engagements with us and not the victimisation and threatening strategy they want to use,” he stated.
The Ghana Manganese Company Limited was shut down by government on August 6 due to non-payment of taxes as well as price and production manipulation between 2010 and 2017.
The shutdown was also as a result of the company’s failure to comply with the local content policy at the expense of local contractors which are owed millions of Cedis.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, at a press conference, said, the ministry was working with the Minerals Commission to institute measures to retrieve the taxes.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS