He said lands were very important assets for humanity and chiefs were the custodian and therefore, urged them to support Government’s efforts to eradicate it, saying ‘destruction of the land is undermining the chieftaincy institution’.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he delivered a keynote address at the opening of a two-day sensitisation workshop for traditional rulers and queen mothers on illegal mining in Accra.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs and Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining.
He said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government was determined to stop galamsey and would require the chieftaincy institution to play a pivotal role in stopping it.
The event attracted other key Ministers including; the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, as well as Deputy Ministers of Trade and Lands and Natural Resources.
The Vice President noted ‘’the destruction of the land is destruction of Ghana’’ because land was the most important resource of any nation and must therefore be handled with absolute care.
He said the population of the country was rapidly increasing and there must be a comprehensive and holistic approach to tackle illegal mining and protect the water bodies from further pollution.
He said government would initiate a multilateral mining integrated project (MMIP) that would provide alternative livelihoods for artisanal miners to ensure sustainable efforts in halting galamsey.
Vice President Bawumia said government was determined to transform the economy to create employment and mentioned the ’Planting for Food and Jobs’ which was aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and production of food to feed the populace and export the surplus for foreign exchange.
He said government had reduced fertilizer by 50 percent to farmers and improved seedlings and created mechanisation centres to boost agricultural sector.
He said the government would establish an Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium industry this year as a platform to revamp the railway sector, adding that it would reconstruct Accra-Kumasi, Takoradi-Kumasi and Kumasi-Paga rail lines.
In addition, he said Government would construct 1,050 kilometres of roads and 90 bridges across the country in the next two years, to ensure accessibility to agricultural centres which facilitate the carting of goods and services.
He added that the Boankara and Buipe Inland ports would be constructed as part of the government’s infrastructure drive to transform the economy.
Touching on the flagship government programme ‘One district, One factory’ he said it had secured two billion dollars to start the project, adding ‘‘we’re on course in transforming the economy and creating jobs’’
Dr Bawumia noted that as part of efforts in ensuring sustainable economic growth, government scrapped some nuisance taxes in this year’s budget including taxes on spare parts and disclosed that Parliament had passed the legislation to waive those taxes and soon spare parts dealers would witness the benefit.
The Vice President indicated that 25 district health facilities would be constructed to enhance the delivery of health services
For his part, Togbe Afede XIV, the President of the National House of Chiefs and chairman for the occasion, said corruption was the root cause of galamsey and noted that it was scary about the unimaginable harm the menace would cause to the unborn generation, saying ‘’it is our responsibility to protect the environment’’.
He urged the government to also wage war against other illegal activities such as sand-winning, illegal logging and other unlawful practices that were undermining the environment.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, who doubled as the chairperson of inter-ministerial committee, said illegal mining was a double burden because it had to deal with climate change and man-made problems like illegal mining.