xxxxxxxxxxx of Fri, 19 May 20170

Alternative sources of livelihood for 'galamseyers' in offing - Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that his government is in the process of identifying alternative sources of livelihood for persons involved in illegal mining activities, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’, across the country.

He said a cabinet committee has been established and headed by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimping Boateng, to this effect.

The committee, he added, will also implement the letter government’s strategy on combating the illegal mining menace.

Addressing the Ghanaian community resident in Conakry, on Thursday the second day of his three-day visit to that country, the President said, “one of the advantages of campaigning is that you get to see Ghana.

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“But what we cannot have happen is for mining to compromise our future environment. Sixty percent, we are told, of the water bodies in Ghana have been affected by illegal mining activities. That is unacceptable.

"We are not out to attack Chinese or Canadians or whoever. We are saying that we want people to respect the laws of our country and make sure that our environment does not suffer from mining, and that is what we are going to do,” he added.

Integrated Aluminum Industry

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“Aluminum is the metal of the future, and we have substantial quantities of the raw material in our country. We need a strategy that will ensure value-addition, and not just exporting it in its raw form.

"There is no future in the export of our raw materials. But, that, we must add value inside our country, create jobs, and at the end of the process we will have aluminum,” he added.

It is for this reason, President Akufo-Addo stated, that former President Kufuor bought VALCO, “so that it will be part of this process for an integrated aluminum industry in Ghana. Very soon the plans will be out.”

Promises will be fulfilled

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Regarding the issue of the restoration of the National Health Insurance Scheme, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government has found it necessary to find the money to stave the scheme off collapse, and it was for that reason that he chose Dr. Agyeman Manu, an eminent accountant, to be in charge of the Health Ministry, and supervise the revival of the NHIS.

On the agricultural sector, the President told the gathering that the programme for “Planting for Food and Jobs” launched in Goaso a month ago is the answer to the twin problem of the migration of youth to city centres in search of non-existent jobs, as well as an end to the disgraceful spectacle of Ghana importing foodstuffs from neighbouring countries.

The programme, he noted, has so far employed 1,200 extension officers, and an additional 2,000 more officers will be employed in 2018. Additionally, the programme, he stated will in its first-year target some 200,000 farmers.

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