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23.10.2007 Business & Finance

Veep Cautions Investors

The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has warned investors, particularly those in the mining sector, that the government will not sit down unconcerned to allow them to degrade the environment from which they undertake their mining activities.

He said degrading the land was not acceptable as it had the tendency to spark conflict between them and the communities.

However, he said the contentions between communities and investors over land and mineral rights also had the tendency to set back our forward march to prosperity.

Alhaji Mahama gave the warning when he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people at Sefwi Anhwiaso in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District to end his four-day official visit to the Western Region.

He explained that natural resources were useful only to the extent that they were exploited, adding, “But it is also a fact that exploitation without regard to environmental concerns, as well as the needs of local communities, is irresponsible”.

Consequently, he appealed to the chiefs to educate their people to use the due process of the law and avoid attacks on investors.

Alhaji Mahama said the key to conflict that limited investment was land, while large scale investment that created jobs in industry and the service sector depended on security tenure.

He said the government was addressing the problem with the support of the Land Administration Project.
He, however, explained that the project would have a higher success rate if traditional lineage and ownership structures were better defined.

He therefore urged the traditional rulers to be more proactive on their constitutional mandate, which required them to help clarify customary law by setting the rules down in writing.

The Paramount Chief of Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Area, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, appealed to the government to continue the reconstruction of the Sefwi Wiawso-Benkyima- Oseikojokrom road.

He also called on the government to construct a hostel for the Bibiani Senior High School prior to its upgrading.
He said the Sefwi Anhwiaso Traditional Council had earmarked GH¢30,000 for the establishment of a senior high school in the area.

He commended the government for the construction of the Bibiani town roads, the mass cocoa-spraying exercise and other amenities.

The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Blay, said the visit of many important dignitaries to the area within a short period was due to peace and unity prevailing there.

He said peace and unity had also contributed to the smooth implementation of development projects in the district.
Mr Blay said Peace Advisory Committees would be set up in all the districts in the region to forestall any activity that was likely to threaten the peace in the districts.

Story by Kwame Asiedu Marfo & Charles Benoni Okine,