A mining engineer and the leader of the Ghana Youth Movement (GYM), a non-political youth activist group with the headquarters in Colorado, USA, Mr. Solomon Owusu, has expressed his disappointment about the neglect of all mining communities in the Akufo Addo government’s 2020 budget presented to parliament last week.
Granting phone interviews with morning show hosts on some of the radio stations in the various mining towns, Solomon disclosed the immense financial contributions from the mining sector to the government. He therefore bemoaned why none of the poor road networks in the major mining towns in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern and Western Regions were ignored in the 2020 budget.
According to him, whereas the Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori Atta, recognized that road infrastructure remains critical to economic development, it was surprising that no single road in any of the mining communities was considered with the Sinohydro money, except the Prestea inner-city roads, which was already under construction in 2016 through the Cocoa Road project.
In his view, the USD 2 billion Sinohydro money was generated from the planned bauxite mining in Nyinahini in the Ashanti Region and hence, some of the poor roads in some mining areas, including the Nyinahini town roads should have been considered to underpin the government’s commitment to improving the infrastructure in the mining towns in Ghana.
Additionally, Solomon disclosed that the mining sector in Ghana contributed GHS 2.36 billion and GHS 2.16 billion in 2018 and 2017 respectively from the corporate taxes and royalties paid to the government. Again, he mentioned that the employee taxes in 2018 and 2017 were GHS 457 million and GHS 487 million, according to records from Ghana Revenue Authority. He complained why the government generated such amount from the mining sector but failed to consider roads in the mining towns such as Tarkwa, Prestea, Dunkwa-Ayanfuri, Obuasi, Manso Nkwanta and Kenyasi.
The leader of the Movement, who spoke on local radio stations in the mining towns, including Trinity FM, Bogoso, Space FM, Tarkwa, Spark FM Dunkwa, Sikapa FM, Obuasi and Anapua FM, Kenyasi, urged the youth in the mining towns to come out and demand their share of the national cake from President Akufo Addo. He made this pronouncement because Nana Akufo Addo promised to make life better for them instead of taking them through abject poverty.
Commenting on the polluted water bodies and the unemployed small-scale miners, Solomon expressed worry about how this government has banned Ghanaians from mining but allowed the Chinese nationals to operate illegal mining in the country. He was surprised that approximately 2 million ounces of small-scale mining gold worth over USD 2 billion was exported from Ghana during the ban in 2018. He appealed to all Ghanaians to demand accountability from the president.