Members of Federation of Ghanaian Jewellers (FGJ) have called on government to save the goldsmith industry from collapsing.
The association expressed worry over the gradual collapse of the goldsmith industry which once served as the main source of income for some families.
They complained about the high gold prices, competition from foreigners who bring in electroplated goods and the Precious Minerals and Marketing Company which is supposed to be supplier as well as licence issuing authority.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting, Western Regional Secretary of the Federation, Mr. David Ellemawusi Kweku Nimo stated that, “our indigenous work and artifacts are all vanishing because we can no longer make them…The gold is now very expensive to buy”.
“In the past, after obtaining licence from the Bank of Ghana, a goldsmith with Police authorisation could buy gold and work with it, but the current situation was different.
“…now most of us have not been licensed and for over three years now, our expired licenses have not been renewed by the Ministry in charge… How are we expected to work, train young ones and even feed our families,” he noted.
“The Act establishing our existence and mandate is by far outmoded since 15th February 1990. The CAP 149, which is about our operations, has not been reviewed for years. We are therefore calling for urgent regulatory attention to address, who to issue licence, gold price and where to get regular supplies”, he said.
The Federation further called on government to review PNDC Law 218 and 219, backing the purchase and transaction of minerals by local businessmen.
Mr. Nimo said, making gold and silver accessible to the blacksmith was key in reviving the indigenous goldsmith business as well as preserving local crafts and designs peculiar to the country.
“Go to Turkey, India and Italy and see museums built for these local craft, but unfortunately, we are losing out and may not have anything to show the future generations “.
“This is a skill that the Council for Technical and Vocational Education can easily link up with the Association to train young and upcoming ones as a measure to halt unemployment, grow local industries and entrepreneurs in fulfilment of the One District One Factory agenda by government “, Mr Nimo said.
He stressed on the need for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to quickly come together and lobby the government to give the Association a quota of the gold remitted to the country by multinational mining companies.
“The government should give us only ten ounces for a start and the Ghana Standards Board should help us with standardisation of finished goods and see what difference we will make to the GDP….In fact the industry has a lot to offer in terms of employment, economic empowerment and adding to the rich history for the country. ”
He wandered how local businesses should lack raw materials for production (minerals), adding that such commodities should easily be available in the local Ghanaian markets.
Mrs. Marian Aggrey, a graduate in industrial Art from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and a member of the Association said all her colleagues have gone to sit in offices because of the lack of zeal on the part of policy makers to make the area attractive.
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