Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, on Wednesday said Chinese in Ghana are not the target of the ongoing crackdown on illegal small scale miners in the country.
He explained that the action against lawless nationals of various countries, who use heavy duty equipment in surface mining, which has led to massive environmental degradation, water pollution and wanton destruction of farms that serve as source of livelihood for many Ghanaians.
The Vice President made the remarks when he opened the Ghana Mining Summit 2013, a three-day event being organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines, for individuals, mining companies and stakeholders in the sector, at Accra International Conference Centre.
“Let me seize the opportunity to set the records straight on our recent crackdown on illegal small scale mining,” Vice President Amissah-Arthur told the summit, made up of 200 participants and 70 exhibitors from Ghana and across several African countries.
He discounted impressions being created in sections of the international media that Chinese were the targets of the crackdown, and stressed “That is not correct”.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said the recent step by the Government of Ghana to crack down on illegal small-scale activities by foreigners, “is because small scale artisanal mining, by the laws of Ghana, is reserved for Ghanaians.
“What we have seen in the recent past is not only the flagrant disregard for our laws on small scale artisanal mining, but the introduction of heavy duty equipment in surface mining by nationals of other countries”.
The Vice President explained that the legalisation of small scale mining in 1989, was to ensure that Ghanaians in the informal sector benefit directly from the extraction of the nation’s resources.
He reiterated that government was committed creating a strong but fair regulatory framework for the mining industry.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said this would ensure that the right policies and regulations are put in place so that mining could become a catalyst to national development.
Consequently, a comprehensive review of the mining sector is being designed to provide fairness and equity and at the same time provide the environment and opportunity for enhanced investment in the sector.
The Government is also seeking to reposition Ghana’s mining contracts to match the African mining vision and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mineral Development Policy, the core feature of which is the renegotiation of mining contracts with a focus on repositioning current stability clauses.
The Vice President underscored the need to negotiate and renegotiate contracts to optimise revenues.
This, he said would ensure fiscal space and responsiveness to windfalls and the development of systems to evaluate components of tax regimes to prevent leakages, losses and tax avoidance and evasion.