Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister has stressed the need for proper regulatory regime for the country on mining to address the illegal small scale mining menace.
He said a strong and proper regulatory regime in the extractive industry would ensure that negative activities of the illegal mining in the country including those in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions are well regulated to save the environment from further depletion.
Alhaji Fuseini said this on Wednesday when he addressed participants at the open of a two-day sensitisation workshop organised by Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), for District Chief Executives and some chiefs from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
The workshop is aimed at sensitising and dissemination of information on the findings and recommendations of the GHEITI Audit reports from 2010/2011 on the legal regulation and framework governing the mining and the oil and gas sector for the three regions.
The workshop on the theme: “Making Natural Resource Revenue work for all,” is a follow-up to earlier one held in Tamale in October 2013.
Presentations were made on the policy, legal and regulatory framework of the mining sector, oil and gas regime in Ghana and overview of the mining sector revenue streams as well as turning oil and gas wealth into sustainable and equitable development.
Alhaji Fuseini said the event is very important because the new mining sites in Ghana are mostly located in the northern part of the country and that exploration works showed that these areas are rich in deep veins of gold ore suitable for large scale mining.
He called for an urgent need for a more transparent and prudent management of revenues from these strategic sectors saying: “It is appropriate to make our natural resources revenue data widely available to empower the public to hold both companies and government accountable”.
He said for the extractive resources to be able to benefit the people, the resources must be well integrated into the economy.
Alhaji Fuseini explained that what had so far eluded the nation is its failure to integrate the extract resources into the economy.
Alhaji Fuseini said for the country to achieve such aspirations, it is important to get back to the fundamentals and rectify some of the initial challenges that had continued to plague management of the country’s natural and mineral resources.
He commended GHEITI for organising the programme in the Northern Region and that such initiatives are bound to promote the area as one of the safest places to do business saying, “The rampant holding of important programmes shows that peace is prevailing”.
Mr Julius Kaess, a representative of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) expressed the hope that there would be an increased and enhanced participation of citizens in programmes of transparency to transform the extractive industry in Ghana.
The Nayiri, Na Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, Paramount Chief of Mamprugu in a speech read on his behalf called for the strengthening of institutions to ensure that pressure is mounted on government to become proactive and ensure that problems in the mining sector are addressed.
The Nayiri, who is also the President of the Northern Region House of Chiefs, said the mining sector in the north is overtaken by small scale mining and expressed the need for a stronger collaboration between the state and players in the mining sector to address the problem.
He appealed to communities where illegal small scale mining was taking place to name and shame individuals who indulge in such negative activities so that their practice could be halted. GNA