The Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission, Samuel K. Boafo, has vowed that he and his team will vigorously resolve all concerns obstructing revamping of the salt industry, which has great potential to uplift the economic wellbeing of local people.
“We will seek to resolve all concerns and issues, including illegal salt-mining, to help attract foreign investors into the industry and uplift the standard of living for indigenes living around the coastal belt,” he told Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III and members of the Ada Traditional Council during a meeting as part of a courtesy call by Board Members of the Commission.
All interest groups in the area, he said, must come together to make it easy to resolve issues around the salt mining industry.
This, he said, will pave the way for government to step in and ensure exploitation of the resource in a sustainable manner for the benefit of all, through job-creation and infrastructural development.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is very particular about development of the area on the back of salt mining, and is fully behind the Minerals Commission’s Board in ensuring utilisation of the salt deposits in Ada-Songor to spur growth and development.”
He assured the Ada Traditional Council that the Commission will work with traditional authorities to harness the great potential of salt deposits in the area to help create jobs for indigenes and non-indigenes alike.
“The salt industry holds huge prospects for the country, and Ghana can make enormous revenues from the sector and also create jobs for the teeming jobless youth,” he said.
Salt-winning has been a major economic activity for people of the area and other Ghanaians, especially during the dry season when farming activities subside – although it is done on a small-scale basis, limiting its viability.
The NPP government has promised to revive the entire salt industry to make it one of the economic growth poles for the country and its coastal residents.
The country’s capacity for salt production is estimated at about 2.5 million tonnes per annum, but is only able to produce about 250,000 metric tonnes currently.
Together, Ghana and Senegal produce only a fraction of the salt-demand in the sub- region, leaving neighbours with no other option than to import from far-away countries.
The two are the only countries along the West Coast with the right climatic conditions and suitable land to produce appreciable quantities of salt.
In 2005, Ghana exported 51,150 tonnes of salt valued at about US$2.31million.
Market studies have also revealed that there is great demand for Ghana’s salt – especially in neigbouring Nigeria, which imports approximately US$1.5billion worth of salt from Australia and Brazil yearly to meet domestic demand and feed its oil industry.
Neighbouring countries like Togo, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso import salt from Brazil, Australia and Europe.
The CEO of the Minerals Commission, Addae Antwi-Boasiako, explained that the new Board is currently reviewing the whole minerals sector to identify challenges and opportunities present to develop a comprehensive and sustainable system for regulating the industry.
He indicated that re-categorisation of the various minerals will be done to ensure every mineral receives the necessary attention it requires.
He added that the Board’s visit was meant for it to hear from the traditional leadership and discuss all issues and concerns in ensuring development of the area on the back of salt as a major national commodity.
Members of the Traditional Council expressed concern about the illegal salt-winning going on in the area, and sought the Board’s assistance in curbing the practice.
Mr. Dorkutso, Secretary to the Ada Traditional Council, explained that Ada Songor salt was an important historical resource for the indigenes, adding that leadership of the Traditional Area is ready to work with the Commission to develop the resource.
“We are very hopeful that the President and Minerals Commission will help to fully develop the potential of Ada Songor salt.”
Other participants present echoed the sentiments expressed by the Paramount Chief and expressed their commitment and expectation of working with the Minerals Commission to find lasting solutions for the challenges in the area.