Small-scale miners advocate tax reduction to curb gold smuggling

The Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miners (GNASSM) has called for a reduction in operational taxes to curb gold smuggling in the country.

The Association explained specifically that Ghana’s three-percent withholding tax was too high compared to the one percent in the West African sub-region, a situation which encourages some persons to smuggle gold out of the country.

General Secretary of GNASSM, Godwin Armah, stated that the situation was resulting in loss of revenue to the country and impacting on its total gold production.

He was speaking at Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality during a meeting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, and other officials of the Ministry and the Minerals Commission.

“It’s time to review the rate downwards and it will encourage those involved in the illegal act of gold smuggling to do the right thing.

The Ministry’s timely intervention is highly required in stopping the perennial challenge of gold smuggling;  reduction in taxes on our operations will serve as incentives and help curb the gold smuggling canker,” Mr Armah stated.

He further appealed to the Minister to assist them with seedlings to aid their land reclamation efforts after mining. 

He commended the government for their involvement in the National Taskforce against illegal mining, adding that the ongoing efforts by the Minister, including polices and interventions, were the surest ways to curb the illegal mining menace. 

“For the first time in the country, the Association has been made part of the national taskforce against illegal mining. We want to thank the government and the Minister for this,” the General Secretary added.

For his part, Mr Jinapor said the government’s resolve to clean up the Small-scale mining and root out illegalities in the sector was total and unflinching.

 He said the current clean-up in the sector would ensure decent and a well- regulated mining for the development of country. 

“The Small-Scale mining sector contribute about 40 percent of total gold production of the country and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as boost local economy.

“We will, therefore, continue to use broad-based approaches to support and regulate the sector,” he added.

Mr Jinapor dismissed claims that the government had given up the fight against illegal mining, stressing that it was determined to sustain its efforts.

A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, cautioned the Association against establishing District taskforces since such move was unlawful. 

He, however, called for continuous support from the Association to help the government streamline the mining sector, particularly the small scale mining in Ghana.

FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, DUNKWA-ON-OFFIN

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