Business News of 2017-06-19

Engineer prescribes employment package for displaced illegal miners

The raging concerns of the galamsey menace is fast raising discussions from all quarters of the country to find solutions to problems associated with it; employment for displaced galamseyers, secrete killings in mining areas, destruction of our water bodies, depletion of fish species, among others. Many more organizations have also added their voice to the increasing demand for a solution to these problems.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ghana is one such organization that is earnestly looking for a solution to Ghana's unemployment situation as government fights to stop illegal mining in the country.

Speaking to Express Newspaper in an exclusive interview, the Executive Secretary of Institution of Engineering and Technology, Ghana, Engr. Emmanuel W.K. Donkor appealed to President Akuffo Addo to consider repealing the PNDC Law 285 which bars operations on the Songor Lagoon in order to allow investors to renew operations for salt production.

He further requested the government to establish a processing plant for salt in that area to increase employment opportunities for the youth as well as boost the country's economic fortunes, and thus help to fulfill the one district, one factory agenda.

He said Ghana is currently sitting on a "gold mine" but until that law is repealed, the country will not derive any benefit from salt.

The engineer further noted that salt is one of the five chemicals which form the base of the chemical industry in the world. He explained that salt has many uses which include the application in food industries such as canning, packaging, flour processing, meat packaging, dairy and food flavoring.

He added that salt is also used for tanning in the leather industry, it is used for de - icing of roads and highways in Europe, America, Asia, etc.

Engineer Donkor, however, noted that when the law is repealed and a processing plant established, it will boost employment and increase economic growth in the country. The Executive Secretary explained that now that there is a war against illegal mining, the government should, as a matter of urgency, reclaim all damaged lands at the mining sites and replant trees to re-establish the vegetation on those lands.

Engineer Donkor also advised the government to cultivate the rehabilitated lands into large farms and employ the illegal miners to work on them.

"Government should then encourage the farm workers to form corporatives of ten members or more in each group, and then provide them with seed capital for them to work" he advised.

He noted however that Ghanaians have been talking about illegal mining and possible ways of ending it for some time now but there has not been the opportunity to do so.

He, therefore, commended the Akuffo Addo government for the courage and determination to deal with the menace.

The Executive Secretary also touched on the destruction of our water bodies by galamsey operations and regretted that the country's rivers have been polluted with chemicals by these operations.

According to him, the rivers finally feed into the see and then pollute it. He said when this happens, the fish in both the rivers and the see lose their breeding grounds to increase.

The engineer said this is one of the reasons why it has become difficult for our fisher folks to have a bumper catch and have to travel far away into other countries' territorial waters to get fish.

"This has therefore made it necessary for the country to stop illegal mining to avoid a situation whereby the country will lose it all eventually.

"The plankton and jellyfish species which tuna fish feeds on have all been destroyed by chemicals from these illegal miners, thus rendering tuna fishing in Ghana almost impossible" he lamented.

Engineer. Donkor, therefore, appealed to all to support the fight against galamsey since the menace affects the livelihood of all - destroying our clean water, reducing food production as arable lands are destroyed and causing a reduction in fish production in the country.

Source: Kojo Aidoo
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