Mr Zakaria Issah, the Community Affairs Superintendent, Golden Star Wassa, has urged companies in the extractive industry to strengthen their engagement structure and engage stakeholders who can influence activities in their plans for development.
He said this would help the company generate positive feedback to help address their grievances.
Mr Issah was speaking at the final roundtable discussions on the implementation of the Voluntary Principles (VP’s) looking back on the milestones of the programme and look forward to the future on its sustainability in the country.
He said the phase of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was changing but most companies are still adapting to the old system of just providing infrastructure for the people thinking that was what they needed.
A well structured approach, Mr Issah said was what was required as this, had helped Golden Star in achieving peaceful co-existence in the field of their operations.
“Engage the district chief executives, MPs, Paramount chiefs and influential people in the community. These are the people who can effect change in policy,” he said.
He said the participation of the youth in operations and giving them the needed recognition they deserve would give companies the peaceful environment to operate.
He therefore advised that companies in the extractive industry adhere to the directions of the VP’s to enable them work effectively because it was more efficient.
Mr Issah said the process of the VP’s had helped them but required patience and experience because it was practical.
He therefore urged participants who have been trained to also train others with an effective monitoring process in line with the National Action Plan on the VP’s implementation by way of sustainability.
The national roundtable discussions on the VP’s implementation began in 2016 with funding from the U.S Department of State.
Ms Hannah Blyth, the Programmes Officer, The Fund for Peace (FFP), expressed satisfaction with the inputs made by participants to enhance the implementation strategies.
She said various key priority areas, including reforming private security licensing, developing a training curriculum for public security forces through an education institution, linking the VP’s to the Multi-sectoral small scale illegal mining.
She also suggested increase coordination between oil and gas operators, government and key coastal community stakeholders.
Ms Blyth stated that even though the three-year period of national level discussions had to come to an end, this was not the last of the VP’s in the country and called for the launch of the Multi-sectoral Mining (MMIP) and the National Action Plan to carry on with the implementation.
Mr Rustum Nyquist, the Human Rights Officer, US Embassy, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for providing the leadership in the implementation of the VP’s.
He said the US government and Ghana were still partners and look forward to more collaboration in the future to enhance the economy.