Government says it is considering payment of monthly salaries to all gazetted chiefs and queen mothers across the country as part of efforts at getting them to desist from releasing their lands to illegal small scale miners.
Deputy Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, Paul Essien, who revealed this Monday said his outfit is working on the proposal to that effect and would be submitted to Cabinet for approval, Onua FM’s Kwame Kakarba reported
“We are also putting in place measures to pay chiefs and queen mothers who have been gazetted. It is something we are working on and it will be presented to cabinet. Once cabinet approves it, we will implement it,” he told traditional authorities in Cape Coast in Twi.
This was at a meeting to engage the traditional authorities in areas of the region affected by illegal mining with the view of courting them to stem illegal mining, which has left most of the country’s forest cover, vegetation and farmlands in devastation.
Mr Essien explained that the intended monthly salary would serve as “motivation” to the chiefs and queen mothers as well as cushion them, noting some of them are financially struggling to survive.
“Some of the chiefs are suffering to the extent that what to survive on is even a problem,” he observed.
The Minister said in view of their financial situation, most of them become susceptible to influences by these illegal miners leading to the lease of lands for galamsey activities.
He said when the Akufo-Addo-led government took over power, it realised that what was being paid paramount chiefs and queen mothers was nothing to write home about, saying “When we came, the pay was not good; GHC500 for a paramount chief for what, queen mother GHC350, for what?”
Mr Essien expressed optimism that these interventions would push the chiefs and their queen mothers to help end illegal mining in the country.
“We also plead with you to help end galamsey so we can protect the country’s resources for the benefit of all,” he said
Central Regional Deputy Minister, Thomas Agyei Baffour, expressed worry on how galamsey have destroyed the water bodies such as River Pra in the region.
He said the government cannot fight galamsey without the involvement of the traditional leaders, hence appealed to them to support the President in ensuring galamsey free in the country.
Omanhene of Twifo Traditional Area, Nana Appiah assured government of his in ending galamsey in the country, indicating galamsey has destroyed the rivers in the traditional area.
Central Regional Police Commander, DCOP Rev Ampah Benin, said 50 police and military personnel would soon be deployed to galamsey areas in the region to protect lands.
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