Government has launched the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP).

The NAELP is an initiative aimed to serve as an alternative for illegal miners who lost their source of livelihoods as a result of efforts to sanitise the small-scale mining industry.

It is also intended to mitigate the unavoidable hardships that have arisen as a result of the government’s efforts to clamp down on ‘galamsey’ operators, as well as provide good economic livelihood options to persons who engaged in illegal mining and its associated activities.

It will thus enable those adversely impacted, the opportunity to work and support themselves and their families.

The launch of the initiative took place at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, on Monday.

President Akufo-Addo announced at the launch of NAELP that the initiative, which is expected to create about 220,000 jobs, will be rolled out in all mining communities across the country.

“In keeping with our commitment to promote responsible viable and sustainable small scale mining, the programme will also include a community mining scheme which will be the module for small scale mining activities in the country,” he added.

Furthermore, the programme will focus on reversing the negative impact of illegal mining on the environment through the National Land Reclamation and Reafforestation component of the programme.

“This component will restore degraded lands into economically viable lands, create job opportunities for the youth, landowners and the communities at large,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo also reiterated his commitment to clamp down on illegal small-scale mining, insisting that persons found engaging in the act will be dealt with according to law.

He emphasised that his government is not opposed to small-scale mining, rather, it is against the activities of illegal small-scale miners.

“What we cannot do and will not allow to happen is to permit mining activities to threaten the environment that sustains our lives and the lives of livelihoods of generations unborn. We owe a sacred duty to preserve the environment even as we reap the benefits of our natural resources.”

“Small scale mining can and must only be done responsibly,” the President stressed.

He further pledged to ensure that the programme is adequately funded.

“Upon my request, the Ministry of Finance is committed to make adequate budgetary allocation in the upcoming 2022 budeget of government to fund this very important policy,” he assured.

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