President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared the outmost support of his government to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, as he takes steps to prosecute persons found to be engaged in illegal mining in the country.
He particularly assured members of the Ghana Bar Association of his full support to the Attorney General in all efforts and determination to prosecute Aisha Huang and her collaborators, who, apparently, insist on flouting the laws against illegal mining.
“I expect, if they are found guilty, that the courts will apply the full vigour of the new amended Act 995, which has increased substantially the punishment for breaches of the law,” the President said.
Addressing the 2022 Bar Conference of the Ghana Bar Association yesterday at Ho in the Volta Region, President Akufo-Addo noted that since the onset of the Fourth Republic, some 29 years ago, Ghana had witnessed the longest period of “stability and economic growth in our sixty-five (65) years of nationhood”.
During this period, the President said, Ghana has witnessed sustained growths in the size of the economy; rising levels of per capita real incomes; systematic expansion of the private sector.
“We have taken strong measures to try to protect our lands, water bodies and environment from the menace of environmental degradation and climate change; ensured that efforts to meet the most basic elements of social justice; that is, education from kindergarten through to secondary school, and accessible healthcare to all citizens, are ongoing,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that government, under his stewardship, is not against small scale mining, but only poised to put in place initiatives to regularise the activities and promote responsible community mining in the country.
“On the contrary, the Government is in full support of responsible small-scale mining activities, as they provide an avenue for Ghanaians to participate in the mining industry, and contribute substantially to our gold exports,” he said.
The National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, he explained, is a programme designed to help alleviate the hardships of those affected by government’s efforts to sanitise the mining industry.
According to him, available data show that the small-scale mining industry accounts for some 40 percent of the country’s gold exports, and has played a critical role in making Ghana the leading producer of gold in Africa.
“What we cannot do, and will not allow to happen, is to permit mining activities to threaten the environment which sustains our lives and the lives and livelihoods of generations unborn. We owe a sacred duty to preserve the environment, even as we reap the benefits of our natural resources. Small scale mining can, and must, only be done responsibly,” he insisted.