11.07.2006 Business & Finance

Gov't Provides 15 Billon Cedis For Oil Palm Project In Wassa West

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Government has provided 15 billon cedis for oil palm plantation in five communities in the Wassa West District in the Western Region.

The Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines has been engaged in alternative livelihood projects to create employment opportunities for people living in mining communities.

The beneficiary communities of the first phase of the project covering about 7,500 acres are Awudua, Bogoso, Huni Valley, Himan, Mbease-Nsuta, near Prestea in the Wassa West District of Western region.

Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines said this at the Biennial Alumni Lecture of the Mining and Mineral Engineering Students' Association (MMESA), held at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) Tarkwa.

He said the project targeted those, who were engaged in illegal mining and farm families operating in the communities.

The Minister said in furtherance to Government's commitment to the development of mining communities, Government would return 10 per cent of mineral royalties it collected to the communities that host mining activities.

He said this would be done through the district assemblies and traditional councils, saying, the aim was to assist local communities to determine and implement their own development projects, which had unfortunately not been the case.

Prof. Fobih said, his Ministry had therefore, decided to incorporate a community development scheme in the Minerals Development Fund Bill, now being prepared for Cabinet's attention.

He said payment would be made into the Community Development Fund made up of the district assemblies, the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines and mining companies.

Prof. Fobih said management of fund would however, be at the community level and would involve the community representatives, representatives of the mining companies and the district assemblies.

He observed that mining companies had been involved in various activities including the provision of education, health care and other facilities in their host communities, as part of their corporate social responsibility commitments and had also instituted alternative livelihood projects for the communities.

But "in the past, however, the provision of these amenities were handled in a manner devoid of commitment and involvement of the beneficiaries", the Minister added.
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