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12.08.2009 General News

Sand and stone contractors appeal for government support

By GNA
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Accra , Aug. 12, GNA - The Association of Sand and Stone Contractors has appealed to the government to decentralize procedures for obtaining permits for sand and stone winning.

The association said government was losing GH¢2 million annually as a result of illegal operators in the industry.

Mr. Peter Kwame Donkor, Chairman of the association, said this when he presented proposals to the ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Land and Natural Resources and Mines and Energy on ways of decentralizing the acquisition of permits for sand and stone winning.

He said delays in the acquisition of the permits had contributed to the increase in activities of unauthorised persons in the industry.

Mr. Donkor spoke against illegal operators and said they operated at night to evade arrest. "Such persons are flouting sand and stone winning regulations with impunity."

He said it took some members of the association more than a year to obtain permits from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minerals Commission.

Mr. Donkor suggested the creation of district and regional offices at the sector agencies to save members from travelling long distances for permits and other regulatory requirements.

He said the association, which has about 2,011 members in the Ashanti Region alone, played a vital role in socio-economic development in terms of sand and stone supplies to the construction industry.

"Our role is not only seen in our contribution to the total output in the mining sector but also employment creation."

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said in many communities, the environment had been altered by complex natural and human activities with significant impact on the lives of the inhabitants.

"There is the need for chiefs, land owners, sand and stone contractors to respect and adhere to the laid down procedures for sand winning."

Mr. Chireh said to ensure sustainable development and good use of lands, there was the need to ensure proper analysis of existing laws on the winning of sand and stone and putting in effective measures of reclaiming land.

He asked members of the association to submit relevant documents and provide accurate information to speed up processing of permits.

In a speech read on his behalf, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Land and Natural Resources, urged members of the association to support government in weeding out unregistered and unauthorized operators whose activities are creating nuisance to the environment.

"We will continue to dialogue with you until an effective system is put in place for the convenience of all stakeholders," he said.

GNA

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