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REGSEC vows to match illegal miners `boot for boot`

By Michael Boateng - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Brong-Ahafo Regional Security Council (REGSEC) is to match illegal miners who have invaded the Asutifi District “boot for boot,” for peace to prevail.

Mr. Nyamekye Marfo, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, disclosed this at the First Ordinary Meeting of the Third Session of the Fifth Assembly at Kenyasi.

According to the Regional Minister, reports available to the REGSEC indicate that about 5, 000 illegal miners had invaded the area, threatening the peace and security of the district, and the region at a whole.

He noted that there were social implications like armed robbery, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and excessive intake of illicit drugs associated with the activities of illegal miners, which when not tackled, would destroy the social fiber of the district.

He said in order to curtail the situation, the REGSEC had instituted measures to combat the activities of the illegal miners.

Mr. Nyamekye Marfo noted that partisan politics among assembly members in the district would not help its economic progress, therefore, the members should consider the development of the area a priority over their political affiliations.

According to the Minister, the recent cases of flooding in areas within the Ashanti, Western and Greater Accra is a lesson for the people in Brong-Ahafo, and therefore charged the various district planning officers within the region to insist that proper drawings and demarcations are done, whilst the Assemblies also enforce the necessary bye-laws to clear such structures from the water ways to prevent such situations.

The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Asutifi, Mr. Eric Addae, noted that the district had enjoyed some relative calm and peace during the first half of the year, but expressed concern over the intermittent confusion arising out of payment of compensation by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for buildings destroyed, or to be destroyed at Amoma at Ntotroso.

However, Mr. Addae disclosed that after several meetings, the issue had been resolved, and payment to the affected people started with the hope that it would go a long way to bring calm and sanity to the area.

According to him, the district had one chieftaincy dispute still pending at Gyedu, calling on the parties to exercise maximum restraint to allow justice take its course.

Mr. Eric Addae noted that for the assembly to be in the position to prosecute its development agenda there was the need to mobilise enough local revenue to complement receipts from the District Assemblies Common Fund and accruals from royalties.

He disclosed that during the year 2008, an estimated amount of GHc599,300 was targeted, but GH¢518,589.61 was realised, representing approximately 87% of the budget figure, which according to him, was quite impressive.

The DCE said the account for the satisfactory performance was due to receipts from royalties/stool lands revenue, and corporate property rates from companies like GT, MTN, COCOBOD, Kasapa and Tigo, which together raked in an amount of GHc462,062.29, whilst rates, fees, fines, licences and rents bagged only GHc56,527.06.

Royalties/stool lands revenue accounted for 89%, and locally generated revenue 11%, which gives the true picture of how the assembly's revenue staff was performing, and needed to be looked at with all the seriousness it deserves.

“It is clear that our revenue collectors are not performing well, and some strategies need to be put in place to raise the level of performance,” he disclosed.

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