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29.07.2004 General News

Check "Dumping" of expatriates on institutions - Mineworkers

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Takoradi, July 29, GNA - Mr Robert Kwesi Cole, General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers Union, has called for an end to the "dumping" of expatriates whose expertise are available in the country on institutions.

He urged the agency to enforce the localization action plan enshrined in the minerals and mining laws to ensure that expatriates did not over stay unnecessarily in the country.

Opening a two-day National Executive Council meeting of the Union in Takoradi on Thursday, Mr Cole said the tendency had created a situation where qualified Ghanaian professionals were marginalized. The existing political and economic environment had attracted investment into the mining sector, resulting in the influx of expatriates into the sector, he noted.

He said the Union was not against the employment of expatriates but was not happy where such engagements could best be described as "Job for the boys" and urged the Government to allocate enough resources to the Western University College, Tarkwa to enhance the training of professionals in the mining sector.

On the liquidation of Bonte Gold Mines Limited, Mr Cole expressed the Union's concern about the inability of the Mines Department, the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to play their statutory roles to make the company accountable for its operations.

He urged the Government to take the necessary measures to hold the local and foreign directors of the company accountable for the "mess it has created and the untold hardships inflicted on the environment and the people".

Mr Cole suggested the restructuring of the Minerals Commission to include a member of the Union to help in regulating the operation of mining companies.

To enhance the mobilisation of premium for the various schemes under the National Health Insurance Scheme, he said the various District Assemblies and Traditional Councils should invest part of their royalties from the operations of the mining companies on behalf of their people.

He said the Union would soon launch an Endowment fund to promote the education of children of members.

The Union would undertake a massive renovation of its Education Centre at Tarkwa to provide Information Technology Training for members and their dependants.

Mr Wilson Kofi Anani, General Manager of Ghana Manganese Company (GMC) at Nsuta briefed the meeting about the company's alternative livelihood and environmental programmes.

He urged Union leaders to foster closer cooperation with the people to ensure peace and harmony needed to enhance mining activities.

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