The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged mining companies operating in Ghana to leverage their spending on the importation of tools and equipment to producing them locally.
President Akufo-Addo said the large amount of foreign exchange spent by mining companies on the importation of industrial tools and equipment into the country could boost Ghana's economy if part of that money were spent locally through the production of many of the tools and equipment in the country.
He said the foreign exchange which mining companies mobilized from the domestic economy and repatriated through the importation of several tools and equipment, could be used to enhance the capacity of local entrepreneurs to produce such tools and equipment.
President Akufo-Addo, who was speaking at the opening of the 12th West Africa Mining and Power Conference and Exhibition in Accra on Wednesday, said it was time the importation of many of the industry's tools and equipment were stopped.
He urged Ghanaian entrepreneurs to work with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Chamber of Mines to identify opportunities in the value chain, where indigenous companies could manufacture these products locally.
He said mining inputs, such as caustic soda, activated carbon and grinding media should be produced locally and at competitive prices, adding that the readily available raw materials for some of the inputs, meant that there was great potential for interested investors.
The mining sector, the President argued, could be a captive market for Government's 1-District-1-Factory initiative, which would help address the unemployment problem that had confronted the country for so long.
With the application of technology and innovation in the extractive sectors such as mining which, of late, had engaged fewer labour hands, President Akufo-Addo said, it was imperative that job creation were stimulated in an integrated manner through the value chain of the extractives sector.
With the extractives sector, particularly mining, the President noted, Government, as part of growing Ghana's manufacturing sector--through the establishment of a new paradigm of an integrated mining industry to propel local manufacturing, required the private sector to work closely with industry and the academia to equip young professionals with the skills required to operate competitively in the sector, creating jobs and wealth.
The value chain of mining, President Akufo-Addo stressed, had a huge potential for job-creation that Government intended to tap into it to develop Ghana's economy.
"We cannot, and should not, continue to be merely exporters of raw materials to other countries. I call on all players in the sector to work with us to deepen the integration of the mining sector with the non-mineral sectors of the economy," he added.
On the need to remove all doubts and set everybody's mind at ease regarding the volume and value of gold legitimately exported by the sector, particularly by gold producing members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM), President Akufo-Addo indicated that he was looking forward to the implementation of the National Assay Programme.
He commended the Chamber and the mining companies for the decision to work with the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), which had been appointed as the national assayer, to assay all bullion being exported out of the country for both small-scale and large-scale mining companies.
President Akufo Addo said even though the PMMC did not presently have the requisite technology to be fully operational, the company was better positioned to build its capacity and transform its operations, adding that he was confident that they would do so expeditiously.
Touching on streamlining the small-scale mining sector, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, had worked on the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) to provide the needed framework to streamline small-scale mining and provide avenues for alternative employment for the galamseyers.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)