Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has disclosed that his sector deals in other equally pertinent activities in the mining sector aside the much-touted combating of illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
Addressing the media today, November 23, 2021, Mr Jinapor noted that although galamsey forms a critical part of the issues he deals with, there is an appreciable level of focus in ensuring that Ghana retains its position as the number one producer of gold in Africa.
He explained that his outfit works with the Ghana Chamber of Mines and seeks to create a “conducive environment” to keep Ghana as the number one producer of gold in Africa and the sixth producer in the world.
“The impression is created that mining is all about ‘galamsey’ or the only issue we deal with in the mining sector has to do with ‘galamsey’. Yes, ‘galamsey’ is a very important and consequential matter. It has far-reaching effects on the forward march of our country. But there is a lot more we do than dealing with galamsey”.Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor
Withholding tax rate of unprocessed gold
The finance minister in the budget 2022 reading stated that exports of unprocessed gold by small scale miners through official channels has dwindled from over one million six hundred ounces in 2019 to below one hundred thousand ounces as at September 2021.
To resolve this, Ken Ofori Atta revealed that government in consultation with the stakeholders in the industry decided to reduce the withholding tax rate for sale of unprocessed gold by small scale miners, on whom the incidence of the tax falls, from 3 percent to 1.5 percent.
Commenting on this, the Lands and Resources minister highlighted the fact that withholding tax of 3 per cent gold producers pay when exporting, has been reduced because it encouraged smuggling and served as a disincentive for the mining sector. That notwithstanding, Mr. Jinapor revealed that “there are still challenges on a daily basis”.
“I think this is significant and it’s going to contribute tremendously to the growth of the small-scale mining sector. There is a good deal of work we still have to do to come to a satisfactory situation”.Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi, explained that the Commission does not grant license but regulates the mining sector.
Mr Ayisi revealed that the Commission as of November 1, this year, has abolished paper-based application and “no longer accept application with hard copies”.
“You have to go online. It has been very phenomenal and cooperation has been wonderful… The person who has the sole mandate and authority to grant mineral license is the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources”.Mr Martin Ayisi
The Minerals Commission boss underscored that the Commission has upgraded its IT infrastructure to support the online process at both Regional and District Offices, as well as configured its system to accept payment via mobile money. Mr Ayisi then expressed that his outfit has hired more inspectors to strengthen monitoring and inspection.