Members of Parliament (MPs) in Obuasi are pushing for strict implementation of the local content law to guarantee direct jobs for residents as AngloGold Ashanti starts operation.
The gold mining giant under a redevelopment plan got a $1.6 billion investment to revive the mine which shut down part of its operations in 2014.
Managers of the mine say they will offer 2,500 jobs and the MPs want residents of Obuasi to be given priority.
Speaking to Joy News, Obuasi East Member of Parliament, Patrick Boakye Yiadom, said “thank God Obuasi mine is back, courtesy the President and the government. The government made sure that as part of the agreement, we entrenched the local content policy strongly. We are going to make sure that the company goes by it.”
Photo: Obuasi East Member of Parliament, Patrick Boakye Yiadom
Recounting the challenges the indigenes of the mining community had to endure, his colleague MP for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, said “what the closure meant was that many of these companies folded up, the hotels which hosted these guests to Obuasi lost their businesses. The purchasing power of the community generally went down and it impacted our market women because people were not coming to buy from them.”
His position was corroborated by his colleague from Obuasi East.
“The whole Obuasi life was down, businesses were down, marriages were broken, men left the town to seek greener pastures elsewhere and life was uncomfortable.
"If I should tell you what we have gone through the last four years, you will not like it. Most towns become ghost towns after mining companies close down,“ he said.
But Mr Kwarteng, who is also a Deputy Finance Minister, is optimist the enforcement of the local content laws will enhance the purchasing power of the people.
“When you have a mine such as the AGA,companies come here to work with the mine and when they come they provide employment for the people of Obuasi. The resource that comes to the people here will be used to purchase the things which we need from the market," he said.
On January 22, 2019, President Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo re-opened the AngloGold Ashanti gold mine in Obuasi, which had been closed since 2014.
The re-opening was in fulfilment of a campaign pledge the President made to the people of Obuasi in the run-up to the 2016 general elections.
Addressing the Chiefs and people of Obuasi on Tuesday, the President noted that upon his assumption of office, a series of discussions and negotiations took place.
The end result is the re-development project of the Obuasi mine.
“In order to help Anglogold Ashanti secure the needed investment for this project, the government had to provide a number of fiscal incentives, and guarantee the stability of the project against changes in the legal environment, especially in the early years of the mine’s operations,” he said.
The President added, “It is expected that all the agreements reached, including the vigorous implementation of domestic content policy, will be scrupulously honoured and performed. The initial investment in the redevelopment project is $881 million, with a total investment of $1.6 billion projected for the entire 22-year life of the mine. The whole investment package has been approved by Parliament.”
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