Fight against galamsey: Lands Ministry denies spending GH₵10m on confabs, dialogues

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has denied reports that it utilised GH₵10 million on ten conferences and dialogues in the fight against illegal mining, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey.’

A statement issued by the Ministry in Accra yesterday said allegations, which were reportedly made by the Member of Parliament (MP) of Tamale North, AlhassanSuhuyini, was false and had no factual basis.

It, however, noted that at the appropriate time, the state agencies charged with auditing the accounts of the Ministry would do their work as mandated by law and take the appropriate actions if any wrongdoing was detected.

Detailing the ministry’s expenditure, it said following the President’s directive for a national dialogue on small-scale mining, a two-day national consultative dialogue on small scale mining was organised in Accra on April 14 and 15 last year, which brought together stakeholders from across the country to agree on a common non-partisan approach to fight this menace.

The statement noted that the dialogue resulted in a fifteen-point resolution including the need to hold similar dialogues in all 16 regions of the country.

As a way of prudently managing the available scarce resources, it stated that the Ministry adopted a strategy to bring together the regions and hold dialogues on a zonal basis, resulting in two regional dialogues at Kumasi for the forest zone and Tamale for the savannah zone.

In addition to the dialogues, the statement said the Ministry undertook a working visit to all the 16 regions to engage various stakeholders, including the Council of State, National House of Chiefs, Regional Houses of Chiefs, Regional Ministers, Regional Security Councils, Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM), among others to solicit their support to fight illegal mining.

“All these meetings were fully funded by the Ministry. The Ministry also provided some funding to the Regional Security Councils to assist in the fight against galamsey,” it stated.

The statement said the Ministry also set up a Monitoring and Evaluation Team together with a Situation Room to receive reports of illegal mining for swift action.

The National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) was launched in the aftermath as part of its strategies to deal with illegal mining and provide alternative sources of livelihood to affected illegal miners.

The Ministry also in partnership with the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) introduced a Small Scale Miners Award Scheme to reward and encourage responsible and environmentally-sound small scale mining.

“The cost of all these and many other programmes and policies being implemented by the Ministry, including the revamping of the Community Mining Schemes, establishment of Small Scale Mining Committees in the various mining districts of our country, resourcing of the Minerals Commission, and the introduction of the mercury-free gold katcha, form part of the Ministry’s expenditure on the fight against illegal scale mining,” the statement noted.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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