President Nana Akufo-Addo has directed the newly formed board of the integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation to ensure Ghanaians benefit more from the yet to be exploited iron ore deposit in Ghana.
The country has three main iron deposits of potential industrial and commercial importance at Shieni, Pudo and Opon-Mansi in the Ashanti region.
When exploited, the ore will feed the steel industry and President Akufo Addo wants Ghanaians to take the lead role in mining of the resource.
He made the recommendation when he addressed the newly established board at the Presidential Dialogue with African Influencers in Accra.
It was under the theme: ‘Africa’s Money for African Development: A Future beyond Aid’.
Below is his address to new board.
“The things that are in our soil belong to us, [they] are exploited for the benefit and exploit of outsiders. Several different areas, whether it is gold, diamonds, or whatever, our direct take from them is that it’s largely minimal and nominal.
We want to change that narrative that is why we have brought the nine of you together to spearhead this new era in the country’s development.
You can imagine the significance of Ghana being able to produce steel, itself, without having to import it or depend on others. You can imagine the implications that will have for driving the industrial development of our nation. So the responsibilities on you are very very big.
I’m appealing to do your best according your conscience to discharge them.
You are not therefore yourself, you have not been put there for your own personal benefit and welfare. You have been put there to serve the interest of the people of this country and that should be the guiding principle.
You are led by a man who is a chairman of the board, who is an experienced public official, who has held high political office in Ghana and should be able to provide you with the perspectives to enable us to get to our destination which is to develop the resources that we have in Sheini, Opon-Mansi and wherever else and bring them altogether under this corporation just as we are doing with the bauxite operation.
And then have the opportunity to leverage these resources for finding the money and also the partners that we’re about to need to develop the resource to its maximum advantage and benefit.
I wish you very well in this undertaking, I know it’s not going to be easy, we’re going to have to do something from scratch.
Unlike manganese, unlike bauxite, nobody has been mining ore in Ghana. It’s a brand new undertaking but it is one that has tremendous significance for our future.
So you see yourself as some of the people who are holding the future of Ghana, to some extent in your hands and that should be the guiding spirit for your work as members of the governing board of the Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation.
I am very confident that you will give a good account of yourselves that you will vindicate my decision to appoint you as members of the board.
And we will be hearing from you. We have to be in constant touch with the Minister of Trade and industry and Minster of Lands and Natural Resources; these are the two main minsters you will be working with to make sure that the design that we have for the development of these resources and the contribution of the industrialisation of Ghana are met.”