Business News of Thursday, 19 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The Managing Director of Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited, Mr George Abradu-Otoo, has asked the government to reserve the small-scale gold mining industry for Ghanaians.
Justifying his call, he said, unlike the foreigners who had flooded the sector, Ghanaian companies in that area would not repatriate their earnings from the trade to a foreign country.
Mr Abradu-Otoo made the call at a news conference in Accra to respond to allegations against the management and board of the company last year.
Among them were the remuneration of the managing director and the number of sittings of the board in the year under review and their allowances.
“The foreigners in the small-scale gold mining industry often mine the gold, sell it abroad and keep the proceeds in their foreign accounts”, he said. adding that “Ghanaians will not do that; at least they will leave far more in the country than a foreigner will do”.
On the potential of the company, he said PMMC, which had been struggling in the past, was gradually finding its feet as its financial position was now beginning to stabilise.
When properly supported, he said the company could fetch the country about $1.7 billion annually.
“The potential of the company is huge; we can make a lot of money for the country but this can only be possible if we get the right support; suffice it to say that we are also working hard as management and board to make things better”, Mr Abradu-Otoo said.
He said the company was ready to receive a strategic investor to help complete the multi-million dollar refinery project which was presently on hold due to a legal action.
“We do not want to rush the project to incur any judgement debt; we are waiting for the court issues to be cleared first then we can move on and have the project completed to refine gold”, he said.
With regard to the company’s diamond cutting and polishing plant, he said management had taken a decision to suspend its operations temporarily.
“We have temporarily suspended operations there and even laid off some expatriates to save us some money”, he said.
According to him, that section was not returning any money to the company, hence the decision to revamp the department to make it more functional and profitable.
He urged the media and staff of the company to desist from spreading falsehood since that affected the fortunes of the company internationally.
Justifying the salary of the managing director of the company, the board chairman of the company, Brigadier-General Charles Richter (retd), said the board undertook a painstaking exercise for about five months to be able to determine the salary for the MD.
He said what the MD earned was the lowest in his rank in other state institutions and noted that “even that, he has targets to meet and we are monitoring to ensure that he stays on track.”
He said the board members were considering doing away with some allowances, including monthly stipends, as part of efforts to get the company back on track.