By Maxwell Ofori
Some Ghanaians are fronting some foreigners to acquire quarry licenses to the detriment of the country, as they do not pay the right amounts, the Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission, Mr Seth Kwame Boafo, has said.
According to the Board Chair, immediately these Ghanaians are able to obtain the permission, they give the concession to these foreigners, who, in turn, beat down prices, as they have other advantages over the local operators.
“From what we have now, even from the grounds, what happens is that some Ghanaians front some foreign companies, and because they (foreigners) have other advantages more than the Ghanaians, they bring the prices so low, and then when people are not buying from Ghanaians and they are down, they begin to raise their prices, and this is so unfair to me and the nation. Economically, it is not sound,” S. K. Boafo noted.
However, together with the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwaku Addae Antwi-Boasiako, the Board Chairman has vowed to put a stop to those acts, by revoking licenses of perpetrators amongst other sanctions.
He was speaking to journalists in Accra on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, on the sidelines of a day’s workshop for all quarries to discuss guidelines, complementing the existing regulations of the Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2012 (LI 2182).
Speaking on the theme “Guidelines for safe, effective and efficient means of operating a quarry in Ghana,” as part of his welcome address, he stressed on the tremendous contributions of quarrying to the development of the country’s infrastructure.
He also emphasised the need for stakeholders to come together to ensure the new developments pertaining to their operations were adhered to.
He believed that the workshop would help quarry operators to collaborate with the Minerals Commission to deliver safely and economically the natural resources for the development and advancement of the country.
One concern raised by almost all the quarry owners during the question and answer segment at the workshop had to do with the price cut down, where some quarries, notably the foreign ones, deliberately beat down the price to push competitors out of the market.
However, the Board Chairman, Mr Boafo, maintained that a robust association for quarries in the country should be able to see to it that they all sold at a certain price, to do away with any monopolistic system in the industry.
“But, if the association is strong, they will determine their prices according to production and the demand of the place. Some of them (those who cut down prices) don’t pay tax, and most of them, you can see, are those who don’t have the nation at heart,” he added.
Having been taken through the guidelines through a PowerPoint presentation, the quarry owners urged the Commission to also help them abide by the regulations.
Amongst other items, the guidelines mandate operators to see it as a priority, the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) to the communities where they have their concessions.
Meanwhile, Mr Ebenezer Yaw Sarpong, owner of ESM Quarry, wants the Commission to help protect their concessions from being encroached upon, as they would also want the operators to fulfil their CSRs.
Stated in the guidelines – “All quarry owners shall develop strategies to secure the sanctity of their concession boundaries. Companies would ensure the acquisition of buffer zones bordering their properties to forestall the risk of encroachment.”
Again, the guidelines urge quarry owners not to overload their trucks to avoid spillage on the roads, which can cause damage to vehicles and pedestrians.