Diasporian News of Thursday, 16 May 2013

Source: Adjei Kode3

Ghana China Friendship Union Appeal

Ministerial Taskforce Must Not Be Used To Witch-Hunt Legal Chinese Firms

The Ghana China Friendship Union (GCFU) has applauded the move by government to clamp down on illegal mining and its resultant negative impacts in the country. In a statement issued in Accra yesterday, GCFU noted that the Ministerial Taskforce set up by President Mahama to deal with illegal mining must however recognise the presence of legal Chinese firms providing supportive services in the mining sector.

Read the full statement below:

The Ghana China Friendship Union (GCFU) welcomes the decision by Government to clamp down on illegal mining and its resultant negative impacts on our environment. Whilst we pursue this course, government and for that matter the Ministerial Taskforce set by President Mahama to deal with the issue, must take into cognizance attempts to tag all Chinese legal firms providing supportive services in the country as illegal.

Unfortunately, media reportage has usually not been in the favor of our Chinese brothers irrespective of which industry they find themselves in. On the contrary there are various foreign nationals engaged in the mining industry in Ghana. Our checks have shown that non-Chinese firms engaged in the mining industry are also having much more adverse effects on our environment than even the Chinese. There have been several forms of pollution associated with non-Chinese firms which Government has kept mute about.

The current Mahama-led administration must not be seen as undermining efforts by successive governments to deepen the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Securing Chinese investments has been at the core of every Presidential and official Ghanaian delegation that has visited China. China is one of ten (10) countries selected by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) for increased and focused investment generation activity under its Investor Targeting Strategy. Chinese investment in Ghana has increased significantly over the past decade. Most of the investments are mostly in agriculture, manufacturing, general trading, tourism, construction and engineering works.

The influx of direct investment from China has witnessed the registration of more Chinese companies in Ghana, notable amongst them are; Huawei, Sino Hydro Corporation, China Building Engineering Corporation, China Hydraulic Engineering and Power Company for Foreign Business, China Telecommunication Construction Corporation, HANSOL Mining, Guangzhou International Company and Shaanxi Building Engineering Corporation, China National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC) and Shenzhen Energy Group.

China`s non-financial direct investment in Ghana at the end of 2010 was US$219 million while its contractual value of contracted projects and labour services for the same period amounted to US$4.53 billion (Ghana embassy, Beijing).

It was as a result of the healthy bilateral relations that existed between the two countries which led to Ghana being selected as the headquarters for the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFUND) which was announced by President Hu Jintao at the opening of the 2006 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Whilst we turn to antagonize the Chinese, we should also bare in mind some completed public sector projects that were implemented with funds from the Chinese Government: i.e. National Theatre Project, Nobewam Irrigation Project – Phase II (Maintenance and Equipment Requirement), Afife Irrigation Project, Juapong Cotton Textile, Vocational Training Centre-Dansoman, University of Ghana Drama Studio, Grain Silos Project, Dangbe East District Hospital, Police and Military Barracks Project, Ofankor – Nsawam Project commissioned in June 2006, Office Complex for Ministry of Defence, The Sunon Asogli Power Plant, Kumasi Youth Centre Project, US$562 million dollars Development of Bui Hydro Electric Power Project, US$150 million Ghana Telecom Network Expansion Project, US$15 million dollars Office Complex Building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, US$2.6 billion Ghana Railway Project (feasibility concluded).

Our fears have been heightened by the recent raid on some legal mining companies by certain persons believed to be military officials.

We are, however, sending a note of caution to all Chinese residents in Ghana to follow the laid-down procedure required for any foreign national to operate in the mining industry in Ghana. The union will not come to the aide of any Chinese national found to be contravening the laws of the country.

To this end, the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce must not been seen as anti-Chinese and an instrument for collapsing small-scale local mining in favor of other multinational firms who turn to repatriate their profits from our shores without accounting or the Minerals going through PMMC.

Signed:

Adjei Kode3 (Spokesperson) 0232149428