The Ghana Anti-Corruption Campaigns Coalition (GACC) is calling on Ghanaians both in public and private sectors to embrace the National Anti- Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), arguing that its implementation will inure positively to the fight against graft in Ghana.
Ms Beauty Emefa Nartey, Executive Secretary of GACC, said there is a political will to ensure that the objectives of the NACAP are realised but there is the need to rally citizens to embrace the process.
Ms Nartey who spoke to Public Agenda in a telephone interview indicated that the greatest strength of the NACAP is that it is to be directly integrated into national development planning, making the plan an integral part of the regular annual activities of public institutions including the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Ms Nartey acknowledged that both the previous and the current governments have shown commitment to implementing the NACAP and that is a positive sign. “NACAP is positive, the previous government showed commitment to the plan and the same commitment is being exhibited by the current government,” she added.
She noted however that, not much has been done on the part of civil society to raise awareness about the policy due mainly to financial difficulties.
The NACAP is designed to contribute to the fight against corruption and the promotion of national development. It seeks to mobilise national efforts to ensure the effective control of corruption. It does not aim at blaming any particular sector for corruption in Ghana. The scope of the NACAP goes beyond controlling corruption in the public sector; it targets the private sector as well, and embraces the activities of state and non-state actors regardless of gender, age, local or international status.
The NACAP adopts a long-term strategic perspective and utilises a three-prong approach in the fight against corruption, namely: (a) prevention; (b) education, and (c) investigation and enforcement.
Speaking on the Progress and Challenges of NACAP at a forum in June last June 2016, the Deputy Director of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, Dr Franklin Oduro expressed worry about the progress of the strategy, arguing that MMDAs who are supposed to help in the implementation of NACAP have failed to do so and thus leaving the plan in the cold.
Dr Oduro observed that Ghana has made significant progress in its fight against corruption but effective implementation of its anti- corruption strategies by Ministries Department and Agencies(MDAs) and Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)has remained a big problem.
Dr Oduro told the forum that, “MDAs and MMDAs are not cooperating” with the requirements of the NACAP.
The President’s advisor on Governance and Corruption at the time, Mr Daniel Batidam observed that the stakeholders seem not to be interested in implementing NACAP. Mr Batidam said by 2024, “if we are able to achieve 50 percent of the objectives of NACAP, we would have made great progress.”
Illegal mining continues to create economic, social and environmental challenges in Ghana.
It is a menace that needs to be managed with support from all sectors and support is likely to be garnered if appropriate political will is demonstrated. In 1989 Artisanal Small Scale Mining (ASM) underwent a transformation when Government promulgated a law, the Small Scale Gold Mining Law, PNDCL 218 to regularise small scale gold mining in Ghana. A department was created at the Minerals Commission to develop small scale mining as a way of creating employment for rural youth who mostly engage in the illegal mining operation known as ‘galamsey’.
Extent of Illegal mining
Research has shown that illegal small-scale miners account for approximately 10% of the gold production in Ghana. The sector is pervaded by over 50,000 foreigners according to press reports. However, it must be emphasized that not all Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) operate illegally. The Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) has been a source of economic activity for people living in rural communities who had limited livelihood options and economic choices prior to the arrival of former colonial masters.
With the passage of time, most of the shallow high grade gold deposits mined by ASMs have been depleted leaving deposits that are now deep seated and difficult to exploit with simple implements. The result now is the introduction of heavy equipment to get access to the deep seated ore bodies. The ASM sub sector is currently largely semi-mechanized because of the use of such heavy equipment which strips the overburden to gain access to the ore body. Thus the current activities in the ASM sector have made the legal framework governing small scale mining inadequate.
Challenges of Small
Aside from the introduction of heavy equipment into the ASM sub sector with its attendant environment degradation, other key challenges preventing the orderly development of viable small-scale mining operations in Ghana include:
Conflict between large-scale and small scale operators due to encroachment of small scale miners on large scale concessions;
Environmental degradation associated with the operations of illegal miners. Illegal miners do not rehabilitate mined out areas. Also, the uncontrolled and unsafe use of mercury in the processing phase is of particular concern given its bio–accumulation tendencies in the eco-system;
Delays in the acquisition of ASM licenses which encourage illegal activities. Indeed some of these delays are due to the challenges faced by miners in acquiring other permits required for the processing of the small scale mining license e.g. Environmental Permit;
Poor tracking mechanisms of heavy equipment used in small scale mining including those used for illegal activities;
Loss of revenue in terms of payment of taxes. About 50% of the ASM operations are illegal so no taxes are collected by the GRA;
Social problems such as crime, increased levels of substance abuse as well as prostitution and high exposure to HIV/AIDS are common in illegal mining areas.
Section 16 of Minerals Development Fund Act authorized the Ministry to establish the Mining Community Development Scheme (CDS). The object of the CDS is to “facilitate the socio-economic development of communities in which mining activities are undertaken and that are affected by mining operations”.
The Legal Framework
All licenses issued by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for small scale mining are reserved for Ghanaians and are site specific. The mining operating permits are issued by the Minerals Commission but the environmental permits to operate mining are issued by Environmental Protection Agency (Act 703 Section 18). It must be noted that any activity by individuals, group or companies without meeting the key mining requirements prescribed by the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) is an illegal operation, including “galamsey” which must not be tolerated by all stakeholders.
In line with the MDF Act, and having consideration for the illegal mining challenges and problems, it is therefore important that a holistic approach is employed. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources propose the “Multilateral Mining Integrated Project-MMIP” which will work in conjunction with the Local Management Committee and District Mining Committees and the inline Mining Community Development Schemes and the District Mining Committees which are in line with Act 703. This concept is tailored to the clear and numerous challenges faced by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure recognisable success is achieved in regularizing illegal small scale mining in Ghana. This will be implemented in accordance with the various legislative instrument.