Mr Shallovern Srodah, the President of the Ghana Federation of Ghana Goldsmiths and Jewellers Association (FGGJA), has called for the development of a Legislative Instrument (L.I) to operationalize the implementation of the Minerals and Mining Act 2015 (ACT 900).
Mr Srodah was speaking at an advocacy forum organised by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) in Accra. He said the passage of the legislative instrument would halt the gradual collapse of the local jewellery sector due to the lack of raw materials.
Mr Srodah said although Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in Africa, the Ghanaian jewellery sector accounts for a very little percentage of the total world production.
“The discrepancy between the country’s resource capacity and its level of fabrication of those resources is an issue of major concern. Currently, the nation derives the bulk of its external revenue from oil, cocoa and gold, producing 91 tonnes – or 3.23 percent of world production of gold in 2016 worth over US $4,6 billion. Value addition to gold at this rate through the local jewellery sector will improve the nation’s fortunes significantly,” he said.
Mr Srodah said Ghana can compete effectively on the international jewellery market to rake in more foreign exchange to augment government’s efforts to develop the country. He said FGGJA together with the BUSAC Fund Phase III was calling for the enactment of the required L.I to facilitate the full operationalization of Minerals and Mining ACT 2015 (Act 900).
“Even though the jewellery industry has been in existence since independence, the question is, what are the policies, legislations and guidelines that drive its operation? If there are, to what extent are they functional? These questions among others necessitated the execution of this publication to as part of the FGGJA’s strategy in an advocacy action for the enactment of the required Legislative Instrument to operationalize the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act 2015 (Act 900),” Mr Srodah said.
He said one of the biggest challenges facing the local jewellery sector is the question of the integrity of the vast quantity of the gold used by local goldsmiths. “Most of the gold used by local jewellers are obtained from illegal or artisanal small-scale gold miners in the country who are mining gold through very crude methods that is destroying the environment- water bodies, forests, farms and air quality. There is also reasonable evidence of the use of child labour at some of these artisanal mine sites which all go a long way to tarnish the integrity of the nation’s gold products,” he said.
Mr Srodah said members of the FGGJA are of the view that the absence of the required Legislative Instrument to facilitate the full operationalization of Act 900 was denying local jewellers of required raw materials for their production; a situation grossly undermining the growth and development of the local jewellery industry in Ghana.