‘We’ll regularise galamsey operators’ – Amewu

Committee wraps up its vetting of minister designate for Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu.

MP How does the Nana Akufo-Addo government fulfill the promise of regularizing the illegal mining.

Amewu: The objective of the president is to formalize the sector as much as possible and to rope in all those who are into illegal mining popularly called galamsey. At the moment, a number of those in the illegal mining business are only concerned about digging in the hope of finding minerals. That is not acceptable. But when the sector is regularized all those involved in the illegal mining will be educated and introduced to the right ways of doing things. Those who fail to do so will be penalized.

MP: By 2016, Ghana will become water-stressed, she quotes the NPP manifesto. River Dayi is an example of how water bodies are being destroyed through man-made actions. What will you do to ensure that the river regains its freshness.

Amewu: We will introduce a mass tree-planting exercise in areas with water bodies.

Anthony Karbo: In areas like Northern Gonga district, Fumbesi, Wa East and West, there is a “multi-million dollar” business of illegal felling of trees. In the Southern part of Ghana, royalties of mining are distributed to chiefs. In the North, the lands do not belong to the chiefs so how will he share royalties.

Amewu: I will ban that tree-felling trade. A consultative meeting will be required to determine how mining royalties will be distributed among the stakeholders in the North.

Ablakwa: Will support a public auction for the sale of state lands in order to promote transparency?

Amewu: Auctioning is an alternative

Amewu: Lands Commission is understaffed by at least 300 employees. Their salaries are not competitive.

Ablakwa: reads an angry statement from Rawlings condemning the nominee after he dedicated 3% of NPP fortunes to NDC founder, Rawlings

“To make such untruthful and absurd claims of a follow up telephone call which can easily be verified is foolhardy, imprudent, unbecoming of a political actor who is supposed to lead with integrity and absolutely disrespectful to former President Rawlings,”

Nominee: he is taking steps to apologise for his comments.

SA: How did former President Rawlings help you to maximise votes in the Volta region as you have claimed. What is your relationship with Rawlings?

Chairman tries to intervene. His personal relationships are personal. But Haruna Iddrisu quickly comes in to reframe the question.

Amewu: I was misquoted, he claims. He says Rawlings called to find out about what is going on on the ground but he did not call him personally. He says he has taken steps tp apologise to the former president.

Sampson Ahi: How are you going to collaborate with the Ministry for Water and Sanitation? He asks a question about galamsey.

Amewu: I will do the collaboration when I get into the office. He will use four approaches to tackle ‘galamsey’ – policy,law, technology and enforcement. If you refuse to do the right thing the law will get you. He applauds NDC for passing a law that recommends stiff punishment for those who engage in illegal mining – from 30,000 to 300,000 penalty units.

He says irrespective of party colour or affiliation, he will deal decisively with those who break the law. I am not a minister for party footsoldiers.

Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu wants to know how the nominee will tackle the problem associated with land acquistion.

Amewu: We do not have a complete inventory of lands in Ghana so I will set up a committee to take an inventory. Proper compensation for those who deserve it and reduce the period of land tittle acquistion to 30 days.

The MPs are going through his CV. North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa fishes out one of the nominee’s hobbies – ‘playing with my daughter’

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The man credited with the NPP’s fortunes in the Volta region has appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament to justify his nomination as the Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources.

NPP Volta regional chairman John Peter Amewu is expected to answer questions about how he plans to tackle illegal mining (galamsey) a cause of destruction of lands and water bodies.

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