Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Governance is a process and indeed a continuum. Consequently, we believe in a government continuing and completing the works started by previous administrations. Conversely, it is sad to realize that a government which has borrowed so much but has nothing significant to show, will resort to faslely taking credit and reverence for the projects initiated and executed by its predecessor, the NDC under His Excellency John Dramani Mahama.
It is public knowledge that the president of the republic his excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo is scheduled to grace the commissioning of the 33km Tarkwa-Damang asphalt road on the 9th of July 2019. We expect him to do the needful by recognizing and appreciating the role played by NDC administration under the able leadership of His predecessor, His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, kindly permit me to give you the chronology of how the visionary John MAHAMA gave birth to this beautiful road.
The reconstruction and asphalting of the 33km road is the product of the successful outcome of negotiations between the GoG and Gold Fields Ghana Ltd in 2016. Section 49 of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) allows the Minister of Mines, on the advice of the Minerals Commission, to enter into a DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT (DA) with mining companies.
The DA allows for mining companies to hold certain fiscal imposts stable for an agreed period.
GoldFields first applied for DA in 2004 but did not receive the needed attention of the NPP administration then under president Kuffour. It took the bravery and ingenuity of the president Mahama administration to negotiate the DA which saved Goldfields Ltd the 'two mines, of Tarkwa and Damang, but more importantly, the Damang mine from total collapse within a year.
The negotiations for the Goldfields DA gave birth and agreement to a mutually beneficial condition for the reconstruction and upgrading of the 33km Tarkwa-Aboso-Huni-Valley- Damang Road by Goldfields Ghana Ltd. The conclusion of the DA, which was heavily criticised by the NPP then in opposition, did not only save the Damang and Tarkwa mines, but also allowed Goldfields Board the opportunity to inject $2billion in the Ghanaian operations. The impost arising from the DA allowed Goldfields the breathing space and the fiscal benefits with its attendant savings to rejuvenate the two mines of Damang and Tarkwa.
It's important to underscore the fact that the project is not a gift; neither is it a friendly handout by Goldfields Ltd, but a product of a negotiated development agreement which allowed for a tax waver or an impost to be agreed upon to allow for the continuity of operations for a distressed Goldfields at the time. Today, NDC is happy to see a vibrant Goldfields and the Damang mine in active operation. The NDC administration under the able Leadership of His Excellency president Mahama must definitely be honored and congratulated together with the Goldfields Board for realizing this milestone. The demonstration of visionary leadership and partnership that has seen an improved road transportation in the Tarkwa-wassa mining enclave.
We recommend and expect a similar DA with Golden Star Ltd of Akyempim with yet the inclusion of Goldfields to continue with the road stretch from Damang through New Subri to Twifu Praso in the Central region. The continuation of the Tarkwa-Praso road to Twifu Praso will significantly improve the road network between the wassa and the Twifu peoples. The road serves the two mining companies in the area with most of their workers plying the road as the shortest and convenient route to Accra from Tarkwa.
Other mining companies that had previously negotiated a DA with government include Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd and AngloGold-Ashanti.
We believe that the Goldfields DA negotiated under President Mahama, is arguably the best model in ensuring that mining communities receive direct benefits from such mining agreements and hope it would be emulated by all governments.
We recommend that the ongoing renegotiation of DA for AGA Obuasi mine would include such innovative initiatives to directly benefit the people of Obuasi and its environs. Also, a new DA can be reached with all the mining companies in and around the Tarkwa enclave for the reconstruction of the Tarkwa and Takoradi highway which has now become a death trap to commuters and the communities bordering the stretch which exposes the NPP government on unfulfilled promises to start that very important project.
The Tarkwa Damang project is in three lots ie (lot one (1-8, km -, Tarkwa/Abosso junction to Ataneata, Lot 2 - Ataneata to Amoanda and Lot 3 Amoanda to Damang). Currently, the project is substantially completed. Lot three has been handed over to the GHA, whilst lots one and two are significantly and substantially completed but have not been delivered or handed over to the GHA.
We are happy that this project has come to the current completion stages but surprised to learn that it is being hurriedly commissioned.
While appreciating Gold Fields for keeping to the terms of the agreement with the Mahama administration, it is our hope that the NPP government will for once shun its truth-twisting nature and avoid making any funny claims concerning this project, especially if they will not pay the deserved acknowledgment to President Mahama and the NDC government.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.