MPs call for more resources for Small Arms Commission

Prof Mike Oquaye – Speaker of Parliament

Members of Parliament (MPs) have called for adequate resources for the National Commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons to enable it to track illicit arms.
They said the Commission should be provided with what it required to perform.
This followed a statement made on the floor of the House by Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah, MP for Manhyia North, and Vice Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee, on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Ghana.

He said the wide circulation of these weapons was often times the reagent that transformed localised incidents into global events, which posed threat to long-term socio-economic development.
Although there had been numerous legislative and administrative measures to stop the proliferation, these arms continued to be found in the hands of the people.
He therefore spoke of the need for a national safety assurance programme to be integrated into the arms control sensitisation by the Commission.

Mr Amankwah noted that the local small arms manufacturing industry served multiple sectors – clients and other purposes but, was not officially recognised, a situation that was not helpful to the arms control effort.
He made reference to statistics at the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service (CID) that showed that small arms constituted the main tool used in armed robbery, carjacking and violent crime.
Eighty (80) percent of weapons found at the crime scene, was locally made weapons.
The MP said that highlighted the need to recognise the local manufacturing industry so that it could be effectively monitored and streamlined.
He added that tracking of firearms and licensing had become necessary and cited the findings of a survey carried out between 1981 and 2013.

The Police Firearms Bureau had during period, registered 1,236,128 weapons but fewer than 35,000 weapon licenses were renewed in each year, apart from the year 2005 when 61,778 weapon licenses were renewed.
That, he said, indicated that, less than three percent of gun permit holders’ renewed their license, annually.
Mr Amankwah suggested that the system should be digitized for effective monitoring and to boost revenue.

Source: GNA

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