Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta is proposing the adoption of the the COCOBOD model for the purchase and export of gold from Ghana.
Currently, Ghana has a liberalized system for the buying and export of gold, but the Finance Minister-designate thinks the system where one body buys and exports gold from Ghana, like the what is done with cocoa, would be better.
He was speaking on day two of his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
The vetting touched on the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal and illicit gold exports among other things.
Ken Ofori-Atta while noted that the liberal system in gold purchase and export fuels the illicit trade of the commodity, which leads to the loss of billions of dollars to the state, because the sources are vast and therefore not easy to manage.
He believes having one institution recognized as the only legitimate body to purchase and export gold from Ghana, will drastically reduce the illicit export and block the revenue leakage.
The finance minister-designate said such a policy will enjoin particularly the small scale mining companies to sell all their produce to that one body instead of exporting the gold on their own, or selling to individuals separately.
“So we have to tighten the processes surrounding how the gold is procured and exported first of all for the small scale mining space. If you look at for example COCOBOD’s structure, should we be considering that model to run the small scale industry, so that we fund our capacity to be able to buy all the gold and therefore be responsible for export?” he asked.
“Then on the bigger gold mining companies, we need to put systems in place to ensure that the assaying is witnessed to verify the quality of gold that is produced and exported,” he added.
But the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM), Godwin Armah thinks a collaboration between the Precious Minerals Marketing Company and private gold buyers can work effectively to management gold buying and export to stem illicit trade and revenue leakage.
“There are currently so many factors that cause the issue of smuggling of gold from the country, so looking at one body buying I don’t think it may be the key. Rather we can have the PMMC being there as it is now and then the various licensed exporters will work with PMMC or send all their products to PMMC to do the shipment.”