The Inter-Ministerial Committee On Illegal Mining Was Not Needed - Richard Ellimah
He rated the committee's performance as four out of 10.
The Executive Director of Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), Mr Richard Kojo Ellimah has taken turn to comment on the dissolution of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) and to him, the Ministry did not live up to its billing.
The IMCIM established to oversee the implementation of the ban on all forms of small scale mining and supervise the vetting of small scale miners was shut down by the president of Ghana following its completion of mandate.
The Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs, Regional Re-Organisation and Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Water and Sanitation, Interior, Defense and Information made up the Committee which has been dissolved in the second term administration of the Ghana president.
According to the Director of CeSIS, the formation was not needed as it duties clouded that of the Mineral's Commission, which the president should have empowered to function effectively on the matter.
"I have heard about the dissolution of the committee. It's rather unfortunate but they couldn't live up to the task but the truth is, the committee was not needed in the first place.
"It is enshrined in our constitution, the works and duties of the minerals commission. The commission is just lacking resources and the only thing you have to do is to resource them with more hands and resources. You don't create a parallel committee doing the same work as the minerals commission," he noted.
He provided alternatives that eradicating illegal mining in Ghana is not just about Committee formation but requires involving opinion leaders, chiefs the technocrats and the "so-called illegal miners themselves" to be educated on the dangers the 'trade' pose to the environment and lives as a whole.
On his rating of the government's performance on the fight against illegal mining, the grade was four out of 10.
Mr Godwin Armah, the General Secretary of the Association of Small Scale Miners also shared in the same opinions of Kojo Ellimah with his rating on the work of the Committee not encouraging. He disclosed that government alone cannot solve the illegal mining challenge unless technocrats are involved.
He expressed dissatisfaction on how the NPP government in the fight took decisions that affected both legal and illegal miners yet people who had knowledge and solutions to the societal problem were pushed away for the top level, who had no information about the various mining communities to guide them in putting an end to the menace.
"These politicians always care about themselves and as such take decisions that favour them. If we give technocrats a chance, we'll see a different thing. It got to a point all miners, both legal and illegal were asked to stop work yet same concessions were given to party folks of the president to mine and to make matters worse. They were mining in forest reserves with armed military men protecting them."
Mr Benjamin Annan, the Vice-chairman of the Dunkwa District Small Scale Miners Association added that President Akufo Addo's decision to chase out everyone from illegal mining and later permitting his party members was very unfortunate.
He called for a decent way of handling the challenge during his second term.
Owusu Richard, Obuasi Correspondent