Kumasi, May 20, GNA – The youth wing of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have declared their support for government’s resolve to clamp down on illegal mining in the country.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Kumasi on Friday, Mr Brogya Genfi, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the NDC, commended the ruling New Patriotic Party Administration for taking the bold decision to stop the canker of galamsey, which had destroyed the environment and polluted water bodies.
He said if the decision to halt illegal mining had been taken in the past, the devastation on the environment wouldn’t have been so grievous. He pledged the youth wing of the NDC to support the government in ridding-off illegal miners in the region.
Mr Genfi noted that the fight against galamsey should be carried out devoid of any partisan politics since the effects of mining did not target members of one particular political party but the entire citizens.
He, however, expressed concerns about the economic hardships being visited on artisans and individuals whose livelihoods depended on mining.
He pleaded with government to reconsider the duration of the moratorium.
Mr Nelson Owusu Ansah, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party, said the youth wing of the party would rally support towards the fight against galamsey.
He said if the nation failed to deal with the galamsey menace now, Ghana would suffer greatly and have negative reperrcussions on the future generation.
For his part, Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, expressed delight for their support and noted that, the government was not against mining but the methodology employed by some bad elements in the mining business, which was destroying the environment.
He said the government instituted the ban for six months period in order to sanitise the sector.
He said mining should be conducted in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner where the local people would benefit instead of foreigners.
He said after the expiration of the ban, the seven-member Ministerial committee overseeing the implementation of the directive would review the ban and plan the way forward.
Mr Amewu stated that Government would implement a Multilateral Mining Integrated Project, where affected miners would be provided with alternative livelihood programme and also engage them in the reclamation exercise.
He said the government would allow artisanal miners to form co-operatives and issued with licences to operate within the remits of the mining law, while government offered them technical expertise.
The meeting attracted over thousand youth groups from the camp of the NDC and NPP respectively.
They fraternised and shared ideas in a friendly atmosphere.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA