By Patrick Biddah
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Damongo in the Northern region, Adam Muwatakil, is calling on government to do the honorable thing by compensating small scale miners.
According to the Damongo MP, it is not enough to just lift the ban on small scale and illegal mining, when you do not make up for the losses incurred by the miners as a result of the ban over the past year.
His comment is in reaction to the announcement by President Nana Akufo-Addo, to lift the ban on small scale and illegal mining.
Speaking in an interview with The Herald on Tuesday, following the announcement by President Akufo-Addo on Monday at a workshop on the elimination of illegal mining in Ghana, Mr Mutawakil, explained that the miners took huge loans from the banks to develop their site and have since recorded accumulated interest on the loans which needed to be paid.
He said, the announcement to lift the ban would do them no good, if the losses they incurred as a result of the ban, were not taken care of.
The government in 2017, imposed a ban on small scale mining in a bid to curb the pollution of water bodies across the country, from the activities of small scale mining.
But in the wake of the ban, both the licensed small scale miners and the illegal miners, complained about the hardship the ban has brought to their families.
In announcing the decision to lift the ban which was for an initial six months, but was extended occasionally, President Akufo-Addo at the workshop, said there was a roadmap accompanying the lifting of the ban.
The President said the roadmap would address issues of re-afforestation and reclamation of mine affected areas as well as restoration of water bodies.
Additionally, strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licences and associated permits and the establishment of mercury polluted abatement project.
But in the mind of the MP for Damongo, who is also the Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee in Parliament, all these interventions do not mean anything, if the miners are not compensated.
In his view, the surest way of addressing the issue is giving a sustainable employment to the youth, who are mostly engaged in these practices.