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Lands Ministry to meet Ghana Manganese Company over shutdown on Friday

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh

The Management of the Ghana Manganese Company, GMC, is expected to meet the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry to resolve the impasse between the two.

The Ghana Manganese Company was shut down following allegations that it has shortchanged government to the tune of GHc1.94 billion in an operational audit report of the company by the government between 2010 and 2017.

But the Chief Operating Officer of GMC, Benjamin Atsu Quarshie has denied the claims saying a report from the Ghana Revenue Authority exonerates the company.

He said he is hopeful that the meeting, scheduled for Friday will yield the needed results.

“If they really get to understand where we are coming from, the report from the Ghana Revenue Authority saying that we don’t owe the government, then I believe there will surely come a time when they will tell us to get back to work. A meeting has been scheduled for this Friday with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. Hopefully, in that meeting, we will all find an amicable solution to the problems at stake,” he said in an interview with Citi FM.

Allegations

The shut down according to the Lands Ministry is as a result of alleged nonpayment of taxes and price manipulation between the periods of 2010 to 2017.

The company has been under investigation since February 2019 after preliminary checks of its finances revealed several infractions.

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh in a press conference on Monday said there are plans to retrieve the monies.

“GMCL has not shown strong commitment to value addition in particular. There are also defaults by the company in the payment of annual minerals rights fees in excess of 4 million dollars. These and several infractions give me no option as the sector Minister than to close down the operations of GMCL.”

“The company is therefore instructed to stop all mining exploration and export of minerals effective 6th August 2019. The Ministry together with the Minerals Commission and other relevant stakeholders will immediately commence discussions with Ghana Manganese to resolve this and other outstanding issues in the course of the shutdown.”

The Minister had earlier directed the management of the company to halt its mining operations due to inconclusive data on the company’s operation and revenue.

Denial 

The Managers of the Ghana Manganese Company say the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the government failed to fulfil their obligation of paying back an amount of $20million refund due them between December 2018 to June 2019.

In a statement released the managers of Ghana Manganese Company described as inaccurate and inconsistent, the government's claims that the company failed to fulfil its financial obligations, which have resulted in over $300 million loss of revenue to the state.

Benjamin Stay Quashie, who is the Chief Operations Officer of the company said the closure and mere thought of workers losing their job is causing psychological trauma among the over 1,500 workers, whose fate hung in the balance following the closure.

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