Accra, April 27, GNA - Jewel manufacturers are calling for the establishment of a Ghana Jewellery Council, an independent body, to regulate and monitor the activities of jewellers and production of nuggets or jewel articles in the country.
The Council will comprise key stakeholders in the precious minerals industry, such as the Minerals Commission, Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), Ghana Standards Authority and jewel operators in Ghana, to enforce standardisation and certification of artefacts.
Mr Shallovem Srodah, the President of the Federation of Ghana Goldsmiths and Jewllery Association, made the call at a stakeholders’ dialogue in Accra on value- addition to the precious minerals and upscaling of skills training for the artisans, organised by the Friends of the Nation (FoN).
He said the PNDC Law 218 and 219 of 1963, which established the PMMC, did not mandate it to regulate the jewellery industry and so the lack of regulation of the industry had negatively impacted the quality and standard of jewel articles produced in Ghana.
Mr Srodah said Ghana could not receive even one per cent of the US$94 billion global jewel market in 2019 because the jewelleries produced in Ghana did not meet international standards and taste of most jewel consumers.
He said most of the jewel producers in Ghana used their hands and outmoded equipment in moulding jewel articles, which made the final products to rate below international standards, noting that artisans required capacity training in modern technology to make them competitive on the global market.
"We must have marks fixed on our jewels and this can be done when Ghana enters into alliance with International Hallmarking Convention," Mr Srodah said.
He said CAP 149 promulgated in 1909 by the British Colonial Administration to regulate the jewellery industry was not in tune with modern business operation and needed to be reviewed.
He enumerated other challenges facing the industry including high taxes and Valued Added Tax (VAT) on gold supplied to them by PMMC, under-declaration of karat of gold in jewel articles, and inadequate supply of gold ore for their business due to the ban placed on small-scale mining about two years ago.
"For instance, CAP 149 of 1909 says before you can open a jewel shop a commissioner of police is supposed to assess the place and check your criminal background before granting you permit or license among other things, and that is not friendly to the business".
Nana Akwasi Awuah, the Managing Director of PMMC, supported the call for the establishment of a Jewellery Council and said in keeping up with its mandate of promoting the development of precious minerals, it was facilitating the establishment of a gold refinery to ensure raw materials for gold jewellers, minting and other uses.
"We're working to acquire international certification like London Bullion Market Association and Hallmarking Convention for our gold," he said.
The PMMC is working with the Minerals Commission to develop a traceability app to help trace the chain of gold custody to the final destination.
"We're bridging the gap between industry and academia to help the design and technology aspects. We're also working on certifying jewel shops and ensure the enforcement of standards," Nana Awuah said.