By Julian Owusu-Abedi
Government and the Precious Minerals Marketing Company(PMMC), which is at the heart of government’s Gold for Oil policy is set to lose over a $100 million worth of gold to the parallel market(smugglers) due to what appears to be lack of funds stemming from the fact that Bank of Ghana is unable to give money to the PMMC to buy the gold from the miners.
It is estimated that at least some 2000 kilos of gold are produced for market every month by the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners with it’s current monetary value at approximately $120 million.
Since the policy was rolled out in January this year, it disallowed or barred Licensed gold exporters from doing their legitimate business of buying and exporting gold because government said it needed the gold more than any other entity in order that the Gold for Oil initiative may survive.
However, it’s been observed and further checks from deep throat sources have revealed and confirmed that in the last three weeks the PMMC have not been able to purchase even an ounce of gold and therefore playing out the production of some 2000 kilos of gold into the hands of the parallel market(smugglers).
Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) which used to buy on the average, two (2) tons or two thousand (2,000) kg of gold monthly is no more in the market. From the beginning of April 2023 up to date.
Further checks by this reporter from the Kumasi and Tarkwa Purchase Centers of PMMC and it’s environs confirmed same to be true about the state agency’s inability to buy gold in the last three weeks and counting.
A few industry players who were interviewed to share their opinion on the matter stated that looking at the current situation, the Licensed Gold Exporters (LGE) whose businesses were negatively impacted by the Gold-For-Oil policy should be given the opportunity to restart their business. Or a certain percentage of their purchases be sold to Government.
They said, by this action alone, the about forty (40) Licensed gold exporting companies will be able to re-engage the over five thousand (5,000) employees who were laid off when the policy was implemented. And it will also weed out the smugglers who are having a field day by buying small scale gold from the miners.