Minister Worried About Increasing Rate Of Unemployment

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has expressed deep worry about the looming threat of job losses in the gold mining sector.

He said this could only compound and worsen the growing unemployment among the people.

This comes amid the not too impressive global market outlook for the precious mineral as evidenced from the fall in gold price and growing high cost of production

Last year, Ghana recorded a four per cent decline in gold production and a 13 per cent drop in total revenue from the export of the commodity.

The development led to some turmoil in some of the mining companies leading to lay-off of workers while others are undertaking drastic reforms to avoid folding up.

The Minister said under the country’s present labour market situation, throwing workers out of jobs would be most unhelpful to the government’s efforts at putting people to work.

He has therefore called for closer collaboration between the mining companies and the newly created Committee on Redundancy by Employment and Labour Relations Ministry to fashion out appropriate strategies to deal with the crisis.

Alhaji Fuseini said this in an address read for him at the opening of the 2014 annual expanded Council meeting of the Ghana Chamber of Mines in Kumasi.

He appealed to management of mining companies to stick to their approved mining plans and seek clearance from the Minerals Commission before implementing anything outside those plans.

He said that was necessary to ensure fairness and sanity in their operations and minimize the negative impact of the current crisis, especially on employment.

Ahaji Fuseini spoke of the government’s satisfaction with the progress made with regard to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between it and the Chamber on the use of locally manufactured products in the mining industry.

Already quicklime and hydrated lime, cement and cement products, activated carbon, heavy duty electric cables, grinding media, “HDPE” and “PVC” pipes, tyre re-treading and emulsion explosives had all been adopted by the industry body and the regulator for development and local procurement

Alhaji Fuseini gave high marks to the companies for their continued investment in social infrastructure and employable skills training of people in the mining communities.

The companies spent a combined total of about US$26 million on social infrastructure in 2012.

He appealed to the Chamber to come out with suggestions on how to effectively tackle the activities of illegal miners.

Mr Dan Owiredu, President of the Chamber, said Ghana improved its position on the Policy Perception Index (PPI) of Canada’s Fraiser Institute survey on mining companies – moving to the 43rd position, last year, from the previous year’s 54th position.

This was achieved on the back of improvements in trade, labour regulations, employment agreements and related labour matters as well as skills availability.