The huge illegal influx of foreigners in the small scale gold business is a potential threat to the economy unless government takes pragmatic steps to halt the operations forthwith, George Abradu-Otoo, Managing Director of the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) has said.
“It is only in Ghana that foreigners can enter such economic areas to transact gold business with impunity; it can never be done anywhere else. We have an obligation as a nation to safeguard these resources from naked exploitation for our future generations,” he said.
Mr. Abradu-Otoo, made these remarks when the company’s board of directors interacted with a cross-section of media in Accra to explain the current state of the once-vibrant company and the efforts it is putting in place to redeem it from financial constraints — resulting largely from an unlevel playing field with foreigners in the gold business who offer higher prices than the PMMC can afford and eventually transfer their profits offshore.
The interaction with the media was also to dilate on recent media reports of rot in the company.
Mr. Abradu-Otoo said when they assumed office in March 2014 and assessed the state of the company, a committee was formed and held a three-day strategic meeting in Koforidua to evaluate its fortunes — and then embarked on a staff rationalisation exercise to make the company more viable.
He said no staff has been dismissed as alleged by the media; security and cleaners have been outsourced as pertains in other institutions.
The Diamond Polishing Centre is shut down, and staff including foreigners redeployed to other areas pending modernisation of the place with state-of-the-art machinery to enhance productivity.
He said that a strategic investor is being sought to take up the centre to uplift it. Gen. (rtd) Richter-Addo, Chairman of the company’s board, debunked all the media reports of rot, excessive board meeting allowances, MD’s huge salary, dismissal of some workers, payment of judgment debts, and perceived foreigners taking over the company as false and in several instances contradictory. “The board is very vigilant with the state of the company,” he said.