The Forestry Commission has revealed that 34 out of 288 forest reserves in the country are currently under threat due to illegal mining activities known as ‘galamsey’.
This comes at a time government’s fight against the menace has been questioned following a report put together by the former chairman of the defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, accusing government officials of engaging in the menace.
The report by Prof. Frimpong-Baoteng raised concerns over permits given to mine in some forest reserves and buffers.
Speaking at a press conference on the state of Ghana’s Forest Reserves, the CEO of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey said the level of devastation in the affected reserves is dire.
“34 out of 288 reserves have been affected. These are areas we have significant illegal mining. The total area mapped is about 4,726.2 hectares. This is only the size of the surface, some of these impact is fully in whole. And they excavate lots of materials that will impact the forest. It’s not only the size but the impact on our water bodies and the depth of the holes created. A lot more would have to be done to be able to reclaim the land,” he stated.
Reacting to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s report, Minister in Charge of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor says the government’s fight to clamp down on illegal mining activities should not be judged based on portions of the report.
“I found the work of the IMICM valuable, and I am working with my team to factor into the things we are doing today. There are things about the work I may not adopt today for many reasons because the terrain may have changed and so on and so forth. The report doesn’t capture my stewardship till today. I have heard people say that the report shows that government has failed, that I have failed, the report didn’t capture my tenure. The report cannot be sacrosanct, what is important is that we remain focused,” he said.
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.