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The Paramount Chief of Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, Ehunabobrim Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, has said Ghana cannot continue to pay lip service in adding value to the country’s minerals.

He said this at the 2022 Gold Statement Conference and Exhibition held at the Marriott Hotel at Airport City in Accra. It was on the theme: “Showcasing: The Unique Craftsmanship in Authentic Ghanaian Handmade Jewellery.”

The forum was used to highlight the importance of hallmarking the country’s Jewelry.

Ehunabobrim Nana Prah Agyensaim VI said the potential returns in adding value to Ghana’s minerals should be enough motivation for the country’s leaders, to prioritize value addition to the natural resources, like gold.  He urged government to give the needed support to the players in the country’s jewellery industry, as the country stands to benefit immensely.

Ehunabobrim Nana Prah Agyensaim VI.

The Chief Executive of Rapport Services, Mrs. Judy Nakour Crayem, spoke about the need for jewellers to invest in modern equipment to be competitive at the local and international level. According to Mrs. Crayem, for more than two decades, Rapport services began the drive to raise awareness of the importance of adding value to “our Gold and Gemstones through advocacy.”

She observed, “Gold Statement and the Jewellers Association of Ghana continue to work with our partners to help train our Jewellers, encourage them to invest in state-of-the-Art equipment, to stay competitive on both the local and international market and encourage the use of our local gemstones such as jasper, amethyst, agate, rose quartz etc. and train more young ladies, especially, in the art of stone cutting and polishing otherwise known as lapidary.”

Mrs. Crayem lauded the appreciative role of the Mineral Commission and its Board under the chairmanship of Mrs. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, in the realisation of the vision of the Gold Statement.

The President of the Jewellers Association of Ghana, Mr. Jonathan Ababio, on behalf of the association, expressed concern about the unfair trade practice that is impeding the ability of its members to export their works through the courier companies.

Again, he said, Courier companies cite anti-money laundering laws as a basis for not shipping the pieces produced by members for clients who reside outside the country. He disclosed that, the jewellers use same courier services to import precious and semi-precious items or production.

“We as jewelers use these same couriers’ services to bring in precious and semi-precious items we need to use in our production. These unfair scales need to be balanced. We need this conversation to be brought to the fore and the issue addressed as it continues to frustrate and affect our members who need to provide services to their clients adversely,” Mr. Ababio, stated.

The Korle Klotey Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. S.J. Nii Adjei Tawiah, pledged the Assembly’s support towards any initiative that will promote the jewelry sector to transform and promote the development of Accra.

“It is quite clear that we need jewelry programmes, especially in Accra, where people can walk in to have genuine and quality jewelry of their choice. Emporiums are acknowledged worldwide and individuals and corporate organisations, will obviously troop to Accra like they do to Dubai, Switzerland, Paris and other places. This will automatically promote tourism and subsequently increase revenue generation in the country at large.”

He announced that the Municipal Assembly, has earmarked certain open spaces, ‘that is lands, within the city’ where jewelry emporiums can be established to bring all the jewelry together to serve as a one stop shop for jewelry.

The Vice Chancellor of University of Mines and Technology, UMAT, Professor Richard Amankwa, as an institution that believes in responsible mining, it continues to work with both large scale and small-scale mines. He indicated that in the small-scale arena, UMat has teamed up with the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, in order to produce clean gold; “clean in terms of the environment, and the kind of workers who participate in the space.”

Professor Amankwa, said currently, the institution is partnering with the Minerals Income Investment Fund, MIIF, to establish the MIIF-UMAT Jewelry Centre, to produce jewelers who will add to the stock of people in the country.

 “Jewelers who will be well versed in hallmarking so that when they make a ring for you, you can be assured that it is 18 karats and not 13.5. Together I believe we will work hard and next year or maybe in two years’ when we have the Gold Statement conference and exhibition, UMAT will set up a stand to showcase our jewelry,” he stated.

Other speakers at the 2022 Gold Statement Conference and Exhibition were from the Minerals Commission, Chamber of Bullion Traders, Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, and the Ghana Standard Authority. A Geological Scientist, Mr. Isaac Adjovu, also made a presentation on “The Current State of Lapidary in the Jewellery Industry”.

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