…as Ghana moves to join Hallmarking Convention
There appears to be some respite in the offing for local jewellers, as concerted efforts are being made to ensure the country is part of the Hallmarking Convention – a move that will help it gain access to the international market, Chief Executive Officer of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), Nana Akwasi Awuah, has stated.
The Convention on the Control and Marking of Articles of Precious Metals is an international treaty between states on the cross-border trade in precious metal articles.
Also known as the ‘Precious Metals Convention’, it aims to facilitate the cross-border trade of precious metal articles between contracting states – states which are party to the Convention – while maintaining consumer protection by providing a common set of technical requirements for the independent third-party verification of precious metal articles.
According to Mr. Awuah, increased standardisation – including membership of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) – is crucial if the nation’s jewellery and gold doré are to be competitive for the continent-wide free trade area, as well as the global market.
He made this known during a speech at the launch of the 2021 edition of the Gold Statement, where he stated that his outfit is spearheading the nation’s efforts to join the Convention.
“A convention is a treaty and must be entered to by government. What we are doing is leading the efforts to join that convention. Once we are able to join, the benefit that will accrue to us, especially in the jewellery industry, is that our jewellery having the Common Control Market stamp will be accepted for what it is on the international market by members of the Convention without need for further scrutiny,” he explained.
The PMMC Chief Executive also expressed optimism that the impending national gold refinery, which he said is 90 percent complete, will be ready by end of the year.
Despite being a major contributor to the multi-billion-dollar gold jewellery industry, Ghana’s share of the processed market remains at a paltry level due to limited value addition – as well as restrictions on the export of finished articles, which are often flagged as potential conduits for illicit financial flows: a development President of the Jewellers Association of Ghana (JAG), Jonathan Ababio, describes as “grossly unfair and unbalanced”.
30 percent retention
While lack of standardisation and concerns over money laundering have hampered the export of jewellery articles, their makers have had to grapple with the scarcity of raw materials internally.
The sustained state-sanctioned export of unprocessed gold, as well as the influx of foreign buyers from China and India who price-out local jewellers have been blamed for the phenomenon.
However, in what will serve as music to the ears of indigenous jewellers, a former Minerals Commission Board Chairman, Samson Kwaku Boafo, stated that efforts are being ramped up to ensure implementation of the gold retention policy that targets local processing for at least 30 percent of gold mined in the country.
Calling for strict enforcement of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 Act 703, he said: “Gold producers, especially the large-scale operators, should be required to sell a portion of their gold to the Association and local refiners at competitive prices, or else we all lose out”.
On her part, Chief Executive at Rapport Services – organiser of the Gold Statement, Judy Nuakor Crayem, said despite prior failure by policymakers to retool and resource the industry, she is optimistic that the “pieces of the puzzle” are finally coming together.