The state is losing millions of cedis at Klefe, a farming community near Ho, where decorative stone mining has become a major business activity.
Checks by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Domestic Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, indicated that none of the more that 30 smallholder stone mining entrepreneurs there pay tax to Government.
“In my over 20 years of working here, nobody has come to pay income tax from there. We did not know much about their activities but we will check on them,” an official at the Division told the Ghana News Agency.
The GNA learnt that a Kia Truck load of the precious stones ranges between GHc400 and GHc600.
Mr Delali Kasu, Assembly member for the area said the Ho Municipal Assembly issued waybills on truckloads of the decorative stones being conveyed out of the Municipality.
He said some of the enterprises had grown from small-scale to medium-scale businesses with the introduction of excavators at the site.
The stones are used for building, decoration of houses and for strengthening drains against erosion.
The GNA saw wide, long and deep pits filled with rain water in areas that used to be cocoa farms but now turned mining sites.
Mr Edward Gidiglo, Ho Municipal Coordinating Director, said apart from the payment of income tax, the miners had to be licensed by the Mineral’s Commission and not the Assembly because the stones were considered as minerals.
The Geological Survey Department, however, doubted whether the miners were issued with operational permits from the Mineral’s Commission, and urged the Assembly to coordinate their activities to rake in revenue for the Government and create jobs for the youth.
Mr Martin Kpetigo, Volta Regional Director of the Department said there were other precious minerals in the area apart from the stones and urged Government to step in and create the conducive environment for the industry to flourish.