Government is considering legislation to prohibit the exportation of all raw materials from the country, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has disclosed.
According to the President, it was not right for all raw materials to be exported without adding any value to them, which does not give much returns.
Acknowledging the existence of the law governing the exportation of raw bauxite, President Akufo-Addo was keen in ensuring that he added manganese, and, subsequently, all other raw materials.
What prompted the statement was a commendation by chiefs of the Western/Western North regions to the President over government’s move to set up an aluminum industry in the country, pledging their support in that regard. The chiefs had called on the President at Jubilee House yesterday to table some concerns.
“We have to go down the path of processing our raw materials. I believe a law has been passed which is going to prohibit within the next five years, export of raw bauxite from Ghana. I want to add manganese to that. And in due course, it may be that we will have a law that prohibits the export of all our raw materials, so that we have the processing and the value adding here inside Ghana,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo believed that was the way the country could build its industrial capacity and economic strength.
The chiefs, led by the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi, urged President Akufo-Addo, as part of their concerns, to settle all arrears of royalties due Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and traditional authorities.
Though Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi acknowledged that payment had improved remarkably under this government on a quarterly basis, he swiftly added, “However, we request for the payment of the accumulated balance which was outstanding before you (President Akufo-Addo) took office.”
The Chief also pleaded with President Akufo-Addo for a measure of protection and security for cocoa farmers to be able to compete with the multinationals. He called for a good percent of the light crop beans to be set aside for the local companies, to guarantee their future.
The President, in his brief remarks yesterday at the meeting with the chiefs, welcomed the call. While at it, he expressed happiness over the revamp of West African Mill Company (WAMCo), and stressed the need for value to be added to raw materials before export.
He said: “I was very happy when I went to Takoradi to see that WAMCo is back on its feet and it’s working well, and, in fact, it’s beginning to make some money again for its shareholders, [of] which government is a 40% minority shareholder. It is very good to see it is up and running, and now there is a regular and secure supply of beans…”
The chiefs asked the President to look at constructing their roads, something, according to the President, he explained whilst on a tour in the region some days back. He repeated that funds had been secured, together with complete designs, adding that in no time construction would commence.
Commenting on the arrears of royalties for MMDCEs and traditional authorities, President Akufo-Addo, on a lighter note, said he had used chunk of his time in office to pay arrears of the previous government.
Meanwhile, he promised that he would arrange with the necessary office to ensure that quickly, something was done about settling the arrears.
President Akufo-Addo, before ending his remarks, urged the chiefs, who had complained about what was described as a neglect of the region in terms of development, to talk to their people that development would take a gradual process.
He stressed the government’s commitment, as he had earlier cited, to the construction of the head office of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) in Takoradi, as well as other factories to process oil, investments, he believed, would in turn develop the region.
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