Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says government is working to establish a bauxite refinery plant to process the mineral as part of efforts to add value to natural resources to maximize profit and create jobs.
He said government was putting in place all the necessary legislative framework and logistics to construct the refinery in the next two or three years.
A bill seeking to set up a Bauxite Development Authority to facilitate the establishment of an Integrated Aluminium Industry will be submitted to Parliament early next year after broad consultations have been done.
Vice President Bawumia made the disclosure in Accra on Tuesday when he took part in a panel discussion on the role of the private sector in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the African Roundtable.
Other panel members who took part in the discussion were; Gunnar Andreas-Holm, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Nana Osei Bonsu, the Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation, and Ms. Razia Khan, the Chief Economist for Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, London
The discussion was moderated by Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, the Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel.
The event was the theme: “Mobilising Support and Accelerating Implementation of the SDGs,” which attracted government officials, economists, financial analysts, entrepreneurs, diplomats and representatives from civil society organisations.
The Vice President said: “Our goal is to have an aluminium refinery in Ghana in the next two or three years, possibly by 2019.
“We are going to look at the power and other issues, but there is no reason we shouldn’t refine our gold or bauxite.
“There is a clear direction that the President has set, we will go with the Bill to parliament early next year, and move on with the establishment of the refinery”.
He said the establishment of the refinery would further show government’s resolve to partner the private sector to achieve the United Nations SDGs and make the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian better.
Achieving the SDGs would benefit both the public and private sectors, Vice President Bawumia said, and that government was working to create an enabling environment to improve the health and employable skills of the people.
He said: “Government will fulfill its obligation to the citizenry to provide a safe, healthy and economically sound environment for growth.
“When we fail to fulfill the SDGs there will be a lot of hunger and poverty, therefore, it is imperative and in the interest of the private sector to achieve the SDGs so that there will be prosperity among the people.
“If we achieve the SDGs it would mean that the necessary investment have been made, and those investments present a huge opportunity for private sector participation in national development”.
The Vice President said the private sector would play a key role in achieving the SDGs and would make sure that the investment climate was conducive for private sector participation.
He said a Report by the Sustainable Development Commission for the UN indicated that there was about 12 trillion dollars available to the private sector to access towards the implementation of the SDGs.
Therefore every country is supposed to build a strong foundation to achieve the SDGs, which required that they had good investment climate with functioning regulatory bodies to facilitate the process, he noted.
“So whatever you do, you must ensure inclusiveness in order to achieve the SDGs. For instance, in Ghana, we’re prioritising education to make sure everyone, at least, attain senior high education.
“We cannot build an economy that is exclusive, we must build an economy that is inclusive and since independence the paradigm is shifting from exclusive economy to that of inclusive one whether in the education, healthcare or identifying people.
“What we want in Ghana is ensuring inclusion in everything we do in terms of formalising the economy to facilitate job creation,’’ the Vice President said.