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Business News Wed, 1 Oct 2003

Review Gold Mining Products Protection Ordinance

Accra, Oct. 1, GNA- The Ghana College of Jewellery on Wednesday called on government to review the Gold Mining Products Protection Ordinance, which licensing and hawking fees are low in cedis after it was converted from shillings and pences in 1983.

The law was introduced in February 15th 1909, and only saw a slight review in April 1983, which fixed licensing and hawking fees from five and two shillings respectively to 50 cedis each for the license and hawking fees of jewellers.

The law is the Ghana version of the Gems and Jewellery Law of the United States (US).

Mr Kwame Kwamuar, Principal of the College was briefing Dr Abdul Majid-Haroun, Deputy Minister of Mines who was at the College to acquaint himself with the nature and scope of activities and also to inspect a new milling equipment provided by the USAID to the institution.

USAID is currently funding some operations of the College. Mr Kwamuar said the absence of an effective law governing jewellery in Ghana has the potential of damaging the credibility of the industry. It has become imperative to issue certificates and licences to all accredited jewellers to ensure that their activities were monitored.

"It is sad that in many instances, tourists and even Ghanaians have been defrauded in their bid to purchase jewellery. Most of the products initially looked very appealing, but it often turns out to be fake ones. "Sometimes some so-called jewellers sell fake diamonds to unsuspecting customers. But if we are able to issue the good ones with certificates and licences which they will display in their shops, it would help flush out the sale of fake jewellery."

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Mr Kwamuar said Ghana has come a long way in the mining industry and ought not to be seen as condoning "evil industrial practices". He said the College established in 1999, aimed at training middle level personnel, has so far trained 140 students who are in various categories of the industry and were transforming the jewellery industry in producing top notch, comparable to any part in the world. Mr Kwamuar said the College with assistance of 289,000 dollars from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), installed a 3-Dimsensional computer aided laboratory and a 3-Dimensional REVO 540 milling machine.

"The equipment which is the only one in Africa is capable of milling designs crafted by students," Mr Kwamuar said.

He said it is the objective of the college to train students in addition to the traditional goldsmiths so that the two categories will be able to deliver quality materials.

He was certain that with the REVO 540 million machine, Ghana was capable of producing quality jewellery for the international market. Dr Majid-Haroun gave an assurance that government was coming out with a draft bill on the jewellery industry in the next three weeks, saying, "We are very much concerned about the welfare of the industry. Ghana has a strong history in jewellery and for us to just mine and sell is not good enough."

He said "the Bill will be before Parliament soon and then we can take it up from there."

He commended the Principal and staff of the college for showing commitment to developing the jewellery industry. Dr Majid-Haroun said government through the Ministry of Mines is working out a plan to have exchange programme between the college and a German training institution.

Source: GNA
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