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Mgt of our natural resources in line with highest standards of transparency – Jinapor

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Samuel Abu Jinapor

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor (MP) says the management of the lands and natural resources of the country will continue to be premised on high standards of transparency, integrity and Candour.

In line with this, the Minister urged players and captains of the industry to help government safeguard the natural resources for the benefit of the people, adding that the resources continue to be the property of the Ghanaian people and, therefore, “we have nothing to hide as a government.”

The Minister said this when he appeared before the floor of Parliament to respond to some questions with regards to his sector on Thursday, 3rd March 2022.

The Minister in his responses touched on key areas such as the findings and recommendations of the Appiatse disaster, the Ministry’s efforts in ensuring the operationalisation of the community mining scheme, seedlings procured by the Ministry and planted in support of restoring Ghana’s forest cover, among others.

Responding to the findings of the Appiatse disaster, Mr Jinapor provided to the house six fundamental infractions of the Minerals and Mining regulations, 2012 (LI 2177) by the company at the center of the incident, Maxam company Limited.

He said the most fundamental of the recommendations made is a five-member committee set up by the Ministry to review the entire health and safety regime of the mining sector of the country.

He also said in pursuant to the section 100(1) Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 Act 703 has since established a Ministerial Committee of Enquiry under the Chairmanship of Richard Professor Amankwah, Vice Chancellor of UMat and their report is to be submitted in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the issue of Community Mining Scheme which was rolled out in 2019 as a substitute for illegal Small Scale Mining, Hon. Jinapor said 20 Community Mining Schemes have been commissioned in 14 Mining districts across the country as of the year 2020.

In 2021, the Minister disclosed that the Ministry revamped the Community Mining Scheme with all legal and policy frameworks reformed and clarified to provide a clear pathway for responsible and sustainable small scale mining.

He also declared that the Ministry through the Minerals Commission is investing in a mercury-free ore processing equipment known as “the Gold Katcha” adding that the Ministry has already procured one hundred (100) of these equipment which are being given out for Community Mining Scheme across the country.

On the Forestry sector, the Minister said realising the unsustainable nature of the industry, coupled with the need to preserve the forest cover, the Ministry imposed a ban on the harvesting and exporting of Rosewood in February 2017.

He added that from January 2017 to January 2021, a total of 15 people have been arrested and prosecuted for engaging in illegal harvesting of Rosewood, detailing that eight of this number were arrested in Lawra, two in Navrongo, two in Bole and Buipe, two in Nkwanta and Jasikan and one in Tamale who were all prosecuted, convicted with various punishments meted out on them.

Mr Jinapor was of the view that with forest reserves being one of the most vital resource contributing to the national economy and to the fight against climate change, the President Akufo-Addo led government has committed to embark on an aggressive afforestation programme to restore the nation’s lost forest cover.

“We are, therefore, committed to plant at least 20 million trees this year which will include planting on degraded forest lands”

He called on the house to also join hands and help save the forest cover of the country.

Responding to the questions posed by the minority leader on delays of land compensations, particularly on the bureaucratic nature of the Lands Commission, the Minister stressed that the biggest issue regarding land, has been the issue of rightful claimant to compensations.

Government he said is determined to pay these compensations but rival claims makes it difficult and that is the major challenge.

“However, we will adopt all methods to ensure that these compensations are paid,” he said.

The Minister also spoke about land reforms carried out at the Lands Commission saying that the current reforms such as the New Land Act, Act 1036, seeks to also resolve the matter of land related compensations among others.

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