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Needless Confusion
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Ibrahim Mahama
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The ongoing confusion that has characterized Ibrahim Mahama’s Exton Cubic Group Limited’s attempt to enter the Tano Offin Forest Reserve near Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region to mine bauxite could have been avoided if the processes leading to the issuance of permit had been handled with tact.

As it is, the handling of the emerging issues lacks finesse, making the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government look derided in the eyes of the public, especially appointees who are pulling the strings from different directions.

The so-called standoff between the Ashanti Regional Minister and the District Chief Executive for Atwima Mponua on one side and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on the other has proven that there is a huge communication gap in the way some sections of government business is run.

We tend to agree with the Regional Minister that once the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources says the government has put a moratorium on all mining activities – except in the case of three mining companies in the region – it was the duty of the sector minister to notify the Regional Minister that a change of order had occurred and that a fourth company by name, Exton Cubic Group Limited, was being released to operate in the region.

As the issues unfold, we have come to note that the company even has no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit to operate in the forest reserve.

With the EPA’s position, it is clear that Exton Cubic Group Limited has violated the law and the earlier it regularizes its operation, the better – not overlooking the pending court case.

The manner in which the concession was acquired also lacks finesse, to say the least, raising questions about its prudence.

This controversial action by the Mahama-led government to grant Exton Cubic a huge bauxite concession, allegedly without parliamentary approval, has found its way to the Supreme Court.

Brong-Ahafo Regional Youth Organizer of the NPP, Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye DC, has filed a suit against Ibrahim to strip him of the last-minute concession granted him a few days to the exit of his brother (President John Mahama) from power.

The then NDC government. acting through the former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, on December 29, 2016, entered into and granted Exton Cubic Group Limited mining leases to mine bauxite in different concessions for 21 and 18 years respectively and the Nyinahin concession is said to be one of them. Abronye wants an order setting aside the mining lease agreements since. According to him, it is violating Section 5 (4) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703.

We admit that some of the letters giving Exton Cubic Group Limited the permission to enter the forest preceded the court action, but judging from the public uproar that is being generated of late, we are of the opinion that the heads of state institutions in this sector should tarry.

We think the NPP government can step up its game and not get embroiled in some of these needless debates. If that can be done, it will depend on the actions of the appointees of President Akufo-Addo.
Source: Daily Guide

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