CSOs urge government to not create excesses in clampdown on illegal miners
At the closing of the 4th annual civil society review of the natural resources and environment sector in Ghana, participants urged government to also end the burning and destruction of equipment and property and rather deal with the issues in a more humane way.
Mr Zakaria Yakubu, Coordinator of KASA Ghana, who briefed the Ghana News Agency on Thursday on the outcome of the review meeting, said though officials have denied the destruction of property, media reports showed that such brutalities occurred.
He said participants were worried about the situation and appealed to government to ensure that there were no excesses in tackling the illegal mining issues since there were many genuine business people legally involved in mining in the country.
“What the government should do is rather to empower community members to be able to safeguard their lands themselves. Government should also adopt a more comprehensive approach by involving chiefs, landowners and district assemblies in solving the issue”, Mr Yakubu said.
The three-day annual review meeting was an initiative of KASA Ghana, a civil society support mechanism that aims at promoting evidence –based research and advocacy in the natural resource and environment sector.
The meeting also served as a platform for policy review and coordinated engagements in the natural resources sector.
Mr Yakubu said other issues that were discussed included the need for government to expedite action on finalizing a comprehensive national mining policy that would encompass the cost benefit analysis of mining taking into account the environmental, health and social consequences to the country.
The policy should also prioritise underground mining in place of surface mining which continues to cause much degradation to the environment.
Participants also appealed to government to ensure that there was no mining in any of Ghana’s forest reserves, adding that, there should be a permanent prohibition in mining reserves.
They urged government to maximize opportunities for revenue generation by increasing the stumpage fees logging companies pay which when revised would allow companies to pay close to 300 percent in fees than what there were currently paying to the state.
Participants further called on government to amend the land bill to help regulate land acquisition and use in the country.
Mr Yakubu said the outputs of the review meeting would be documented in a communiqué and distributed to stakeholders and government to inform its annual policy review processes.