The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has assured that, the proposed Bill to establish the Ghana Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Development Authority (GIBADA) is not another mining regulatory body.
Dr Bawumia gave the assurance when the Minerals Commission Board, led by the chairman, Samuel K. Boafo paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House on Wednesday.
The Vice President said the purpose of establishing GIBADA was to promote and facilitate the development of an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana thereby giving it authority to enter into joint ventures with other players.
According to him, the Minerals Commission would continue to play its regulatory mandate under the constitution of Ghana and urged the board to continue to champion this cause.
On the illegal mining, Dr Bawumia said his recent trip to the Western Region specifically, Tarkwa, Prestea and Wassa Akropong was as a result of concerns by the people and chiefs regarding the extensive damage of the environment by illegal miners using excavators and the chan fang.
He however, expressed the hope that the government's flagship blueprint, the Multi-sectorial Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) when launched would help resolve challenges in the small scale mining sub-sector.
Responding to an appeal by Mr Boafo for the government to take a second look at VAT on exploration operations and allied services in the sector, the Vice President assured that, discussions were far advanced to take a decision on that adding that it was a disincentive to investment drive.
Outlining some of the initiatives of the Board since its inauguration last November 2017, the board chairman noted that work had commenced in restructuring the commission to position it well to effectively perform its functions as the regulator of the country's mining sector.
According to the Board chairman progress has been made in this regard with the re-alignment of technical officers in the Departments of the Commission; creation of two (2) additional Regional Offices of the Commission; increasing existing mining districts from nine to 12 and intensified monitoring and inspection of mining and exploration companies.
He further drew the Vice President's attention to key issues in the mining sector that require the government's immediate intervention including, the proposal for industrial mineral rights agreements to be exempted from Parliamentary rectification, massive encroachment of quarry mine sites across the country and poor state of railway infrastructure especially the Western railway line which was the primary mode of hauling bulk minerals to the Takoradi Port.