We will stop Galamsey

by Kofi Ayim

The president of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his call to stop illegal mining in Ghana, known in local parlance as galamsey. Tracing the history of Ghana’s natural resources, the 5th president of the 4th Republic of Ghana pointed out that his government is not against mining, but illegal mining that compromises Ghana’s natural habitat and environment would not wash under his government. “We cannot afford galamsey that compromises our very existence,” he emphasized. The president gave this assurance to about 800 mostly Ghanaian audience at the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, Kimmel Center, New York University, New York City June 9, 2017. He said ruthless and powerful individuals with vested interests are mostly the backbone of galamsey  because of its attractive financial gains, but his government would not have it any other way than to stop it. “We’ll secure the future of our country,” the President promised.

He added that alternative livelihoods would be created for frontline galamsey operators.  Giving account of his five month-old government, he observed that the Asempa (Good News) budget delivered by the finance minister is a pathway to fulfilling various commitments. He said the budget removed some burdensome and nuisance taxes to help those that were being economically asphyxiated by the previous government’s appetite for revenues. The budget also provides stimulus for local industries and enterprises and highlights the relevance of redeveloping agriculture. About 200,000 farmers have thus far been identified in a pilot program to plant and replant basic cash crops. He lamented  the importation of basic dietary needs such as tomatoes and plantain from neighboring countries. According to the president about 1200  graduate agriculturists – out of about four thousand unemployed agriculture graduates for the past years – have been earmarked for employment in the current budget. The president challenged Ghanaians to accept the fact that Ghana is indeed not a poor country to depend on charities, handouts, and aid, to sustain itself. He opined that honest management of sound and wellcrafted policies would put foreign dependency behind Ghana. “We have to finance our budgets ourselves…we are capable of it,” he charged.

On corruption, the president who is touted as incorruptible, assured the audience that the soon-to-be-created Office of Special Prosecutor, an independent non-partisan entity would delve into the canker of corruption and take appropriate legal measures. He decried the lack of transparency in facets of government and affirmed that sole sourcing, a potential avenue of corruption, is a thing of the past under his leadership. For the first time in the 4th Republic, all government ministers have filed asset declaration with the Office of the Auditor-General, he added. According to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, perhaps the single most important decision made by his NPP government is access to education. He mocked his detractors that free education is not a political gimmick, but a necessary tool of development, enhanced and supported by quality of instruction. The President also touched on ROPAA and hoped that Ghanaians living abroad could be part of the 2020 general elections. He believes it is illogical to deny a section of Ghanaian citizens their rights to exercise their franchise, while other neighboring African countries enable qualified citizens to vote outside their countries of origin. He believes the power of advocacy by interested parties and/or stakeholders could facilitate ROPAA implementation.

The president praised former President Kuffour’s legacy of the National Health Insurance Scheme that unfortunately was left in disarray by the immediate past government. He also spoke on the re-launch of the National Identification System. Nana Akufo-Addo earlier called for a minute’s silence in memory of Major Maxwell Mahama who was senselessly lynched in the Central Region of Ghana and laid to rest June 9. Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Martha Pobee gave the welcome address, while the Senior Vice Provost of NYU, Cybele Raver  welcomed all. Present were the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, ShirleyAyorkor Botchway; Minister of Gender, Women and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba; Deputy Minister of Environment, Science & Technology, Patricia Appiagyei; Ex Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante; Deputy Chief of Staff  Mr. Francis Asenso, as well as other dignitaries, civic, religious, traditional leaders and various groups. The event was moderated by Dr. Yaw Nyarko, Professor of Economics at NYU and Director of the Africa House, the event host.

Posted by on Jun 18 2017. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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