The Member of Parliament for Mpraeso, Davis Ansah Opoku, has called on the government to establish a water fund to deal with the problems caused by illegal mining.
He recommended that the money generated from this fund be used to treat water bodies affected by illegal mining activities. Mr Ansah Opoku emphasised the need for the government to have more financial resources to tackle this issue.
Speaking on the floor during the debate on the 2024 budget statement and economic policy of the Government of Ghana, he stressed the importance of establishing a water fund to restore water bodies damaged by illegal mining. He believes this initiative will demonstrate the government’s commitment to protecting the environment and safeguarding communities from natural disasters.
“Mr Speaker, everybody is talking about ‘Galamsey’ and how it has destroyed our water bodies. There’s the need for a fund to be set aside so that monies deposited in this fund will be used to repair destroyed rivers, construct new waters for our people, and ensure that the Ghanaian is assured of good drinking water,” Davis Opoku Ansah suggested.
He also proposed establishing the Ghana Water Guard to safeguard Ghana’s water resources from pollution, degradation, and misuse, particularly in the ongoing challenges of illegal mining and industrial pollution. He added that a fund be created to repair destroyed rivers, construct new waters for the people, and ensure that Ghanaians can access safe drinking water.
Meanwhile, the Minority MPs on the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament had criticised the government for failing to account for funds allocated in the fight against illegal mining. They claim that $30 million was allocated quarterly to the defunct inter-ministerial committee for three years. Over GH¢5 million was spent on the government’s engagements with traditional leaders and security agencies to combat the ‘Galamsey’ menace.
Deputy Ranking Member on the Lands and Forestry Committee, Alhassan Suhuyini, emphasised the need for accountability in the fight against ‘Galamsey,’ questioning the absence of any mention of the issue in the budget statement despite significant expenditures.
Furthermore, Mr Ansah Opoku indicated that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government had implemented robust economic policies to alleviate the difficulties faced by Ghanaians.
The MP urged citizens to exercise patience with the government as it has put in pragmatic steps to revive the economy. He assured Ghanaians that “the NPP remains better managers of Ghana’s economy”.
He referred to the 2024 budget as the “Nkunim Budget,” highlighting the visible economic progress in the country.
Mr Ansah Opoku pointed to the drop in inflation and the strong performance of the Ghanaian currency against major trading currencies as indicators of this growth.
“The government reduced inflation from 54.1 per cent in December 2022 to 35.2 per cent in October 2023.Despite an initial projection of 1.5 per cent growth, the economy experienced a notable surge, achieving an average growth of 3.2 per cent in the first two quarters of the year.
“The Ghanaian currency, which had previously been under severe pressure, saw a more modest depreciation of 6.4 per cent cumulatively from February to the date of the report, compared to a 53.9 per cent depreciation over the same period in 2022,” the lawmaker explained.
The Mpraeso lawmaker highlighted the tremendous progress in the country’s housing sector. He singled out the government’s rent assistance program as an initiative to lessen the burden on Ghanaians, especially the youth.