The Brong-Ahafo Blacksmiths Association on Thursday expressed worry about the proliferation of small arms and guns in the country.
It has therefore called on the Ministry of Interior to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw licenses given to blacksmiths to repair guns.
At a press conference in Sunyani, Mr John Addy, Chairman of the Association explained that even though “blacksmiths are not allowed by law to manufacture guns and other small arms they could take license to repair them”.
He said; “The suspicion of the manufacturing of guns has arisen in the sector mainly because some of the blacksmiths who obtained the license hide under the pretext of repair and manufacture guns”.
Mr Addy said blacksmiths operated under constant fear of arrest by security agencies because of the suspicion that they manufactured small arms and guns “though most of us have licenses to repair guns,” he explained.
“We want to operate in an environment that will ensure the sustainability of our industry,” he said.
Mr Addy called on the law enforcement agencies and the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms to work with the association to apprehend those who manufactured guns.
The Chairman appealed to the government to take a critical look at the blacksmithing industry and provide the necessary incentives and support to move it forward.
He said this would enable it to meet the industrial needs of the country within international standards.
“We are hampered in our quest to produce what we know best such as agricultural implements and metal products for industry especially for the transport and health industries,” Mr Addy said.
“Our incomes are very low, we face poverty and our industry is generally weak in the region”.
Mr Addy disclosed that the association had a total membership of 190 operating in 13 districts, adding that it intended to set up a task force to monitor their activities and handover deviant members to the police for prosecution.
Lieutenant Festus Adangabey, Engineer Officer at 3BN Garrison warned that the manufacturing of guns and small arms were prohibited but added that “interested blacksmiths can obtain license to manufacture weapons”.
He noted with concern that the proliferation of guns and small arms had contributed to the upsurge of highway robbery in the country.
Locally made bicycle carriers, axes, teak cutters, drill, handcuffs, cocoa cutters, dolma machines and climbing support were exhibited.