Government, in the coming weeks, will launch National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programmes for illegal small-scale miners affected by the activities of Operation Halt II.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who announced this in Parliament last Thursday, said this forms part of the government’s efforts to create jobs for young people in the country.
According to him, the programme will be anchored on six main interventions and named them as the National Land Reclamation and Re-afforestation; Agricultural and Agro-processing; Apprenticeship, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship; Responsible, Viable and Sustainable Community Mining; Mine Support Services and Community Enhancement Projects.
“These initiatives will target mainly illegal miners displaced by the ongoing efforts to sanitise the mining industry,” he noted.
Mr. Ofori-Atta stated that the government recognised the need to protect the country’s environment, just as it found it necessary to provide alternative employment and livelihoods for “our compatriots who will inevitably fall through the cracks.”
“We are determined to ensure the responsible or sustainable exploitation of the lands and natural resources of our country,” he posited.
He also said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in line with the President’s directive, had held a National Dialogue, followed by two Regional Dialogues on Small Scale Mining.
“Following this, several measures are being put in place to build a sustainable, viable and responsible small scale mining industry that protects the national environment.”
“The Ministry will beef up the personnel and other logistics of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to undertake strict monitoring and enforcement of our mining laws,” the Finance Minister intimated.
He disclosed that the Lands Commission had commenced the process of regional education and sensitization on the new Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036).
He said the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry intended, for the rest of the year, to undertake digitization of the records of the Lands Commission, and added that the move would reduce the time for registration to a maximum of one month.
“The digitization will also be a step forward towards the implementation of the Electronic Conveyance introduced by the Land Act. With these interventions, the government seeks to develop an efficient, robust, land administration anchored on integrity, which responds to the needs of the citizenry and contributes to the development of the national economy.”
The Minister of Lnads and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor asserted that “this year’s budget review is intended to enhance the effort the government laid out in March this year. We are seeking to get into the mode of recovery to get the national economy work again in order to create the thousands of jobs for the Ghanaian youth.”
According to him, he feels happier because the government, through the budget review, has recognised the loss of job and livelihoods of some Ghanaians who were engaged in illegal mining activities.
“This is why President Akufo-Addo, through the Finance Minister, has announced the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programmes, which seek to provide employment to illegal miners who have fallen out.
“These will create 800,000 jobs in the five mining regions – ie. Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Western, and Western North,” the Minister told the Parliamentary Press Corps after the budget.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House