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27.07.2005 General News

Bill must address the paradox of the mining community dweller

By GNA

Accra, July 27, GNA- Captain Nkrabea Effa Dartey, (rtd), Member for Berekum, on Wednesday called for support to wipe out the paradox of abject poverty in rich mining areas by engineering the minerals and mining bill before the House.

"We should hammer home hard on water usage and the preservation of the environment and the provision of basic infrastructure for the socio-economic well-being of the person in the mining community." The member, who is also the deputy Minister of the Interior, was contributing to a motion for the second reading of the Minerals and Mining Law in Parliament.

The bill is a revision of the PNDC Law 153, which was enacted in 1986. It seeks, among others, to provide a new legal regime to ensure an internationally competitive framework that would enhance a stable and equitable tax regime.

It also seeks to ensure environmental protection, stability and development of sustainable mining as well as the community interest. Capt. Effah-Dartey said where a lot of mineral wealth is taken, the incidence of poverty and deprivation is widespread.

According to the member, the miner should see itself as a corporate citizen interested in the well-being of the community in which it is taking the mineral wealth.

"They should be able to provide health facilities, schools and other amenities that make life meaningful."

He said:" it does not make sense to see people suffer in areas where so much wealth is made."

Mr Lee Ocran, Member for Jomoro, called for a national or a local refinery to add value to the gold and other minerals mined in Ghana. He said Dr Kwame Nkrumah's programme of building one was abandoned when he was ousted in 1966 coup.

Earlier, Professor Dominic Fobih, the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, said the bill seeks to address nagging problems like resettlement, development of socio-economic amenities and licensing of mining firms.

He said a place had been created for small-scale miners within the law that would ensure the best mining and community-relation practices. Later in the day, a bill that seeks to make the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) an implementation organ of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs went through the second reading.

After the passage of the NCWD (repeal) bill, the NCWD would be converted into a decentralised department of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. July 27 05

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