General News of Friday, 9 September 2016
The Minister for Roads and Highways, Inusah Fuseini, has decried the lack of political will which he said has allowed the rise in illegal mining known as galamsey.
In an interview on Citi TV’s Politicos, Inusah Fuseini, also a former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and head of the anti-galamsey task-force, said the country needed “strong will at the level of policy and at the level of implementation, to be able to deal with galamsey because it is so pervasive.”
He bemoaned the lack of action on the part of political parties and governments that “have not had the courage” noting that “if you are going to look at the political fallout, you may think that it is so dangerous to do that.”
“You must weigh that against the devastating effects of small scale mining and if you do the pros and cons, you would come to but one conclusion that small scale mining ought to be regulated in such a way that it becomes sustainable.”
The discussion about the devastating effects of illegal mining has come to the fore again following the shutdown of the Kyebi treatment plant and the threat of same to other treatment plants.
This is due to the galamsey-related pollution of the major sources of water for consumption in the Rivers Pra, Ankobra, Birim, Tano among others.
Environmentalists have also highlighted the far-reaching health implications of the illegal mining activities on the average Ghanaians as pollutants make their way into the food and water meant for consumption.
With the various alerts being sounded, Inusah Fuseini, called for more enforcement to complement the legislations that have been passed in the last couple of years explicitly making illegal mining a criminal activity. According to him, “We ought to have followed through.
We initiated a lot of legislation and those legislations have since been passed into law making illegal small scale mining a very expensive [criminal] activity.” “In those days that I was leading the task-force, we didn’t have the power to confiscate but now we do. The law even gives the minister or government the power to imprison. So now we need enforcement,” he added.