Government has compiled a register of licensed small-scale miners with a view of regularising their operations and ensuring compliance with mining and environmental requirements.
Presenting the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement of government to Parliament, in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, said government would soon outdoor a code of practice for their operations to ensure sanity in the mining industry.
He said mining committees would be constituted in all mining districts across the country to fight illegal mining and address issues relating to small-scale miners.
The Finance Minister said the fight against illegal mining was initiated in March this year and government embarked on public education, suspension of small-scale mining operations to allow recovery of polluted water bodies.
He said government has also trained 400 small-scale miners in sustainable mining practices at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, whilst a study on the extent of pollution of water bodies and land degradation had been done.
He said government established Operation Vanguard whereby 400 joint Military and Police Taskforce were deployed to the Western, Eastern and Ashanti Regions to enforce the ban on activities of small-scale mining.
The budget, which is on the theme: “Putting Ghana Back to Work” highlighted some achievements recorded by the government within the past ten months.
Mr Ofori-Atta said government had successfully maintained macroeconomic stability, rolled out the Free Senior High School Policy, ensured reliable supply of electricity, restored the confidence of businesses in the local economy, rolled out teacher and nursing trainee allowances, National Digital Property Addressing System, National Identification System, e-procurement system, among others.
The Finance Minister noted that the year-on-year inflation had reduced from 15.4 per cent in 2016 to 11.6 per cent as at October 2017, policy rate reduced from 26 per cent in 2016 to 21 per cent, and debts to GDP had reduced from 73 per cent in 2016 to 68.3 per cent and maintained fiscal discipline in government expenditures.
To maintain these gains and ensure robust and resilient economy, he said, government would continue to take strategic steps to fix the economy by ensuring macroeconomic stability, improve domestic revenue mobilisation, ensure tax compliance and widen the tax net to rope in the informal sector by implementing the national digitisation programme, One District One Factory, One Village One Dam, implement the Agriculture Marshal Plan to enhance infrastructure, agribusiness and entrepreneurship, among other innovative programmes to ensure sustainable economic growth.
The presentation of the annual budget by the government is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution.