Over 3,000 local mining contractors in Ghana have protested against new fees introduced by the Minerals Commission as a charge payable for the renewal of operational permits.
Per the new payment regulation, local contractors operating with Mine Support Service Company License are charged USD 250.00 as an annual renewal fee, Mine Support Service Company License (specific) USD 10,000.00, Mine Support Service Company License Annual fee USD 6,000.00 and a Processing fee of USD 500.00.
Payments relating to labor certification are; Scaffolders GHs 1,200.00, Supervisors GHs 1,800.00, Riggers GHs 1,200.00, Health and Safety Officer GHs 3,500.00 and Operators GHs 1,500.00.
The Ghana Minerals Commission as a matter of policy introduced the foregoing to regulate locals in the vicinity of mining operations as mine support service companies.
After considering the titanic and threatening nature of the tariffs, aggrieved contractors have described them as killer prices and that their contract sums are even too small to make payment of all the above listed monies to the commission.
They disclosed that the new charges are aside other monies they pay on social responsibilities, stool lands, property rate, EPA registration, business certificate renewal fee, payments at to the district assembly among others.
“Putting all these monies together, there is no way we can pay the minerals commission”, Romeo Wilson, Deputy Chairman for Association of Local Mining Contractors –Ghana told newsmen in Kumasi.
At a press briefing, he ranted over why officials want to blatantly kill their business insofar mandating mining companies in Ghana to stop dealing with them if they (contractors) are unable to pay the monies that the commission is demanding from them.
“In fact we cannot pay this to the Minerals Commission…We are imploring the government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to get into this matter. They are killing our businesses. The commission is taking almost GHs 100,000 from us every year. My brothers and sisters, this is killing. Just to permit you to work? This is killing. We ask ourselves that is this sustainable that every year each person seated here will have USD 10,000 to pay to the commission or USD 6,000 to pay to the commission aside all the other charges we pay? No we can’t…”
“The commission cannot stop us from working in the mines and if they try we will be forced to stage a demonstration against them”, he vowed.
By Enock Akonnor, Editor-in-Chief