Source: Daily graphic Ghana - A former Board Member of Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), Mr Seth Kweku Klaye, has called on the government to halt the activities of foreigners who use fictitious documents to buy gold and export them at a great loss to the nation.
He said the foreigners had acquired mining documents which allowed them to repatriate to Ghana only 15 per cent of the proceeds of the gold they export, a situation which was putting undue pressure on the country’s foreign exchange.
Mr Klaye, who currently consults for minerals companies in Africa, Europe and Middle East, told the Daily Graphic that if those people were using genuine documents as gold buyers and were properly monitored by government agencies, they would be obliged by the minerals law to bring back almost all the revenue to Ghana.
That, he explained, would go a long way to shore up the country’s earnings from abroad and help reverse declining value of the cedi against the country’s major trading currencies, and then there would be no need for the Bank of Ghana to continue with its policy to pump into the economy a daily dose of $20 million to save the cedi from falling against the dollar.
He was apprehensive that the PMMC, which is mandated to purchase minerals from small-scale mines and agents as well as license mineral purchases in the country, was on the verge of collapse because the small-scale Ghanaian gold buying companies had been crowded out by foreigners.
He said although the foreign gold buyers, mostly Indians, were not permitted by the law to go into the mining areas to buy precious minerals, they usually flouted the law and went into mining areas to purchase gold from pits.
Mr Klaye, who has international experience in dealing in precious minerals around the world, made a passionate appeal to the Indian government, through its High Commission in Ghana, to collaborate with the Ghanaian authorities to flush out those law breakers.
He said the Ghana Association of Gold Buyers had notified the Indian High Commission about the activities of the Indian gold buyers and urged the Indian government to call its citizens to order.
Mr Klaye alleged that these Indians had been offered mining documents by some personnel of the Minerals Commission, which had embolden them to buy gold even at world market prices in illegal mining areas.
He wondered why the Minerals Commission whose basic and cardinal work was to regulate mining and monitor activities of mining companies had taken additional responsibility of offering mineral export licence.
“These additional work the Minerals Commission has taken upon itself has put it in conflict with the basic work for which the PMMC was established, that is to deal with the purchases of precious minerals,” he added.
The acting Chairman of the Association of Gold Buyers in Ashanti Region, Mr Solomon Otel, said if the loophole through which those Indians were exploiting was sealed or reduced, the nation would have enough foreign exchange to stabilise the cedi against the dollar.
According to him, when local buyers have enough to sell to the PMMC, Ghana rakes in enough dollars that support the economy and hold the cedi in check against the dollar.
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