Pressure is mounting on government to debunk reports that the $3billion Chinese loan has hampered the country’s effort to stop Chinese nationals engaged in illegal mining activities in Ghana.
The menace of illegal mining – galamsey – compelled government to set up a ministerial taskforce to deal with the canker, but after few months of success with the exercise, the operations of the taskforce seems to hit a cul-de-sac.
Chairman of the National Security Committee on Lands and Natural Resources, Colonel Robert Nyankah, is claiming that diplomatic pressure from Chinese government has held back government’s crusade against the galamsey menace.
“We seized a lot of equipment, made a lot of gains but the operations got stalled. First of all, the Diplomatic pressure been brought on the government by China, you know that was the time we were looking for this [$3 billion] loan [and] I will tell you that thing played a role,” Col. Robert Nyankah told the media after touring some illegal mining sites in the Eastern Region.
His allegation has been described as “extremely disturbing” by a ranking member of the parliamentary committee on mines and energy, Mr. K. T. Hammond.
Mr. Hammond told Joy FM’s Top Story on Monday that government must take urgent action to stop the galamsey menace, and warned that it should not mortgage Ghana’s destiny for a-$3bn-loan.
In his view, nothing should prevent the government from working with the laws governing the country in order for it to succumb to pressures from the Chinese government.
“I will invite the authorities to come out and dispel the rumour, because it is extremely disturbing” to suggest that the country’s fate is tied to a loan the nation is expecting from a Chinese bank, he remarked.
“If there is any indication that we can’t remove them because of some three billion [dollars] that has been proposed, which hasn’t come to the country anyway, for that matter, the government of this country, the authorities of this country are prepared to mortgage our destiny for that sort of money, then I will be considerably disturbed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of WACAM, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng lent credence to claims that Ghana’s government is helpless with the galamsey situation as far as foreigners are concerned.
She told Top Story that reports from mining communities indicate that usually the government taskforce target locals; indigenes are driven away, while foreigners are left to mine illegally.
According to her, the foreigners are untouched under the guise, as claimed by the taskforce, that they “are providing technical support to small scale miners”.
Madam Owusu-Koranteng suspected that government is being controlled by some “invisible forces”, and called on government to have the political will to deal with the canker.