Policy Advisor of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Kofi Asamoah Siaw said his Party’s major policy for the youth is on how to save them from illegal mining commonly known as “galamsey”.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Asamoah noted that galamsey had claimed the lives of many youth and poses a threat to the survival of the country.
He said most of the youth are into galamsey because of the inadequate job opportunities.
“Inadequacy of job opportunities in the country breeds poverty and hunger. In order to get some income to survive, the youth have no choice but to resort to engaging in such deadly activity,” Mr Siaw said.
Mr Asamoah said the PPP would tackle the menace through its education policy of “Free Compulsory Education” that would ensure that persons below 18 years are in schools studying instead of engaging in illegal mining.
Also, the policy would cater for the needs of persons who are 18 years and above and are out of school by offering them opportunities to engage in income-earning activities to take their minds off galamsey and other unacceptable business activities.
He said a PPP government would invest in the expansion of local markets and the production of rice, beans, maize and tomatoes. He said: “The land often destroyed by galamsey operators can be used for large-scale farming, which would create more job opportunities for the youth.”
“When we expand the market, farm produce would get ready market and farmers would get income,” he added. Mr Asamoah said the Party’s galamsey policy would deal with foreigners who engage in illegal mining in line with the country’s laws.“With or without work permit, galamsey is unacceptable in Ghana and the PPP would not endorse it,” he stated.
He expressed optimism on the effectiveness of the policy, saying the Ghanaian youth would gladly accept it as most of those engaged in galamsey are not happy with the associated dangers. “We have interacted with most of them on the Pra, Birim and Ofin rivers and they all said they don’t like what they are doing. Which means if they have a choice, they would quickly change,” he said.
He expressed disappointment in the government stating that its interventions in curbing galamsey have consistently remained ineffectual.He observed that illegal mining apart from its health dangers also pollutes water bodies and destroys lands, rendering it an unsafe habitat for mankind.