Business News of Sunday, 6 December 2015
The Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) has called for a national conversation on mining among stakeholders to clearly identify what the nation needs and how to actualize them.
Mr Prince William Ankrah, the Union’s General Secretary, said as a country, with over a century of active mining experience, optimization of our mineral resources for the benefit of our people still remained hydra-headed and jumbled with no clear direction.
He said: “If not, we (the country) shall continue to go in circles, firefight everything around us and eventually kill the few businesses in this (mining) sector.”
Mr Ankrah was speaking at the just ended GMWU’s National Executive Council meeting for the second half of the year 2015 at the weekend in Accra.
He said the downstream potential of mining was great for Ghana considering the opportunities that abound in the sector of the mining value chain.
Ghana, therefore, he noted must position itself to take advantage of the downstream effect of mining on the economy through local procurements, setting up and revamping of local manufacturing businesses to feed the mining industry with strategic ancillary services.
Mr Ankrah said that should be done with a long term plan of transitioning such Ghanaian businesses into fully fledged mining conglomerates which could compete globally.
According to him, that would create sustainable employment opportunities for young people, engender economic growth and also ensure economic development for all.
“We also want to join other stakeholders to call on government to as a matter of urgency set up a Mining Revenue Management Law as is currently operating in the Oil and Gas Industry to regulate the use of mining revenue in a transparent and sustainable manner.”
The GMWU he said also wish to renew it call on government to establish ‘Mining Community Development Fund’ to cure the glaring infrastructural deficits and to serve as the catalyst for progressive development.
“Reforms in the mining fiscal regime including amendments to mining taxes and other decisions that has direct impact on business operations should be consultative, taking into cognizance the sustainability variable in the business equation,” he said.
To African governments, he said, they must actualize the objectives of the African Mining Vision, which was passed in 2011, in order to make mining relevant to their people and the continent at large.
Mr Ankrah said 2015 has been quite daunting to the Ghanaian mining sector from a certain unsolicited unitary negotiation agenda from the Ghana Chamber of Mines and its forth and back, continuous redundancies in our industry, dooms day predictions by pundits about the future of our industry, to 2015 protracted negotiations among others.
He said despite the bearish sentiments being witnessed in the continuous decline in gold prices, some smart industry players had like the CEO of Harmony Gold Limited, Graham Briggs, preferred to look at it as an opportunity rather than a setback for the industry as a whole.
“We may be in challenging times, but we can navigate this complex industry landscape and meet our growth aspirations if we collectively work together to fully address the confidence crises the industry is currently confronted with, whiles addressing in a very sustainable way, issues of costs management and productivity, Mr Ankrah said.