'The harm being done on our water bodies is not a joke' – Water Resources Minister
Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Mrs. Cecilia Dapaah has argued that the extent of damage caused by the operations of illegal mining, popularly known as 'Galamsey' can never be underrated.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 5th National Policy Summit held in Takoradi on Sunday, December 9, 2018, Mrs. Cecilia Dapaah bemoaned the deplorable state of water bodies in the country.
The 5th National Policy Summit was under the theme, "Improving Performance of State Owned Enterprise and Agencies". She stressed that arguments raised of the undesired possibility of lacking clean and portable water in the future, should the country fail to curb or arrest the menace of illegal mining, is not a joke.
“People think it’s an exaggeration but I am standing here to tell you on authority that the harm being done to our water bodies is not a joke”, she reiterated. She recounted that her journey to the Western Region for the National Policy Summit, was met with a rather threatening site of the River Pra.
“As I got to Beposo, I saw the colour of the River Pra…its like This Way Cholate drink”, she noted. “We as adults, in the pursuit of our selfish ends, should not be allowed to do this to this beautiful country that we have. We must leave a good legacy for generations".
She said "Nevertheless, true to his campaign promise to ensure that these activities are regularized, illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey has undergone much scrutiny, not with the view of taking away peoples livelihoods but rather enforcing laws which would in the end lead to long term benefits in the nation. In this sense, it therefore became obligatory for the Government to bring into being a Committee on Illegal Mining.
As part of its terms of reference, it defines public lands and the authority over such lands, stipulates the establishment of a Lands Commission and Regional Lands Commissions, defines ownership of lands and the vestment of Stool and Skin lands and property, addresses the issue of protection of natural resources with a provision requiring Parliamentary ratification of all agreements relating to natural resources, and many more.
She added "The committee has been proactive with visits to four provincial areas after accidents have occurred in such areas. It is rather time for such accidents to be curbed through preventive rather than curative measures, since loss of human lives, the aftermath of such menaces of illegal mining as well as loss of Government revenue are detrimental to nation building. Overwhelmingly, the laxity of regimes to curb these activities has given even foreigners the impression that laws in Ghana are wobbly".
She, therefore revealed that the aim of this government is to have zero tolerance of corruption at disbursing the mindset of advocates of such thoughts by ensuring these discussions are held to unearth long lasting solutions for better Ghana.
"However, with its zero tolerance to corruption, this Government aims at disabusing the mindset of advocates of such thoughts, by ensuring these discussions are held to unearth long lasting solutions for a better Ghana, as well as bringing on board investors in the management of these SOEs where it deems it relevant", she emphasized.
She added "As a Minister of State, I need to clearly analyse my Presidents vision and determine what role to play in support of the vision, and I wholeheartedly trust that with the engagement of about eight SOEs in this summit, namely Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Accra Digital Centre (ADC), State Housing Corporation (SHC), Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), MASLOC, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), Committee on Illegal Mining, it is envisioned that the two-day event would yield positive results after brainstorming by astute, enterprising and well-meaning Ghanaians at this event. Moreover, it is said that without counsel, purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors, they are established".