Cabinet has placed a temporary ban on the importation of excavators in efforts to combat illegal mining.
The ban takes effect from May 1, 2019, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport and signed by the sector minister, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah in Accra.
According to statement, the ban will remain in effect until further notice.
It said Cabinet at its sitting on March 27, 2019, placed the temporary ban.
“This has become necessary following government’s decision to combat the illegal mining phenomenon, popularly referred to as galamsey,” the statement explained and, accordingly, urged the public to take note of the directive.
Explaining the rationale further to Graphic Online in an interview, Mr Asiamah said the government was committed to the fight against galamsey and was bent on instituting measures aimed at curbing the menace.
On the issue of the fate of excavators which have been shipped and are in transit prior to the ban, Mr Asiamah said “the importers would have to provide documents to show they indeed imported the excavators before the ban.”
Illegal mining, he stated had destroyed part of Ghana’s forest cover and water bodies and it was, therefore, important for all to support government’s efforts to fight the hazard.
Fight On Galamsey
In a related development, the fight against illegal mining has received a boost following the government’s decision to increase the compensation budget allocation for the Minerals Commission from GH¢28.62 million in 2018 to GH¢63.55 million.
The increment represents an increase of 122 per cent.
The significant increase in the commission’s compensation budget was occasioned by the need to augment the current staff strength in order to effectively combat the illegal mining menace and ensure sustainable minerals extraction and management.
This came to light when the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MNLR) met the Parliament’s Joint Committee on Lands and Forestry and Mines and Energy to discuss the ministry’s 2019 budget estimates in the second week of February 2019.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, told the committee that about 137 technical staff and 550 mining guards would be recruited by the Minerals Commission in 2019 to help fight ‘galamsey’.