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A Group Picture of the Ministers Entuorage and UMaT Staff
A Group Picture of the Minister's Entuorage and UMaT Staff

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, has paid a working visit to the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa. During a meeting with the Chairman of the University Council, Dr S. S. Yirenkyi and the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, the Minister indicated that he and his entourage were in the University to inspect on-going legacy projects that are being funded from the Mineral Development Fund (MDF).

Prof Kuma thanked the Minister and his team for visiting UMaT and made a short presentation about the history and some successes chalked by the University to them. He informed them that as the only University of the type in West Africa, students come from several countries in Africa to study at UMaT and that the University has produced mining engineers and other professionals in related engineering disciplines who are found all over the world providing quality services to their organisations. Prof Kuma also indicated to the Honourable Minister that UMaT had a gender mainstreaming policy that made it possible to increase the intake of women to study engineering programmes in the University.

Prof Kuma said that the idea is to increase the student capacity to about 15,000 at the new site which is a 26 km2 land donated by the Wassa Fiase Traditional Council. He indicated to the Minister that Universities form very important legacies after mining has stopped in the communities they operated. It is for this reason that he believes UMaT must be supported to develop the new site in the near future.

Prof Kuma further said that it was in 2009 that the late President of Ghana, President John Evans Atta-Mills instructed the MDF to allocate GH¢100 million to the University to build the human resource capacity and to improve on the infrastructural deficit faced by the University. According to him several efforts have been made to access the funds allocated to the legacy projects but these efforts have not yielded positive results in the last few years.

Prof Kuma also requested the Ministry to reconsider the new MDF Act which did not give credence to the development of research in higher education institutions. According to Prof Kuma, the Act only allocated 3% to Research in higher education institutions, which to him was woefully inadequate. He requested the Ministry to look into the Act again at the next review.

In his response, Honourable Asomah-Cheremeh agreed with Prof Kuma and indicated that as the only Mining University in West Africa, UMaT needed to be supported with funds from the MDF to expand its academic programmes and infrastructure. He, however, explained that the projects had stalled because of the general economic challenges the country was experiencing. He however assured the Vice Chancellor and his team that the projects, especially the immediate ones would be completed as and when funds were made available. The Minister further promised that 15% of funds from the MDF would be disbursed soon and, therefore, called on the contractors to return to site.

The Hon Minister and his Team being led by the Vice Chancellor to Inspect some of the Projects
The Hon Minister and his Team being led by the Vice Chancellor to Inspect some of the Projects

After the felicitations and discussions the team went on a tour to inspect the on-going projects. The projects inspected included the construction of a 5-storey Administration block, the construction of a 4-storey Faculty block, the construction of a sports facility, the re-construction of access road on Campus, the construction of a 2-storey classroom block, the construction of a 2-storey cafeteria block and the construction of a 2-storey 8 - flat staff accommodation of 3-bedrooms each.

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office