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General News of Sunday, 30 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Agyapa Royalties deal: CSOs input very critical – Bright Simons

Bright Simons, Honorary Vice President of IMANI-Africa Bright Simons, Honorary Vice President of IMANI-Africa

Bright Simons, the honorary Vice President of IMANI-Africa, has chastised the Akufo-Addo administration for not heeding the advice offered by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the Agyapa Royalties deal.

According to him, the input of CSOs are very critical in a deal such as the Agyapa Royalties Limited agreement, in order to ensure that there is transparency. He concluded therefore that it is unfortunate that officials under this administration are rather complaining about the watchdog role of the CSOs.

“To expect that the ordinary citizen who has been through all the day to day hustle of living in Accra, Kumasi or Sunyani will be able to go through these documents and make an informed decision about whether or not they support the government is completely unrealistic,” Simons stated. “So it is the role of organisations like ours to spend time and go through these documents so that we can provide a dispassionate and an objective perspective that can help ordinary citizens to come to some conclusions that are informed and balanced.”

He continued: “I think [our role] is very critical unless the position is that once somebody is elected and then sent to Parliament or sent to the Jubilee house, that person has the complete authority to disregard any further views of citizens in the way that they formulate policies. I don’t think that is sound.”

Bright Simons' comments came after the Akufo-Addo administration rejected a letter from some 15 CSOs who have raised critical questions on the Agyapa Royalties Limited agreement.

In the letter, the CSOs have suggested to the Akufo-Addo administration that the timeline for Initial Public Offering (IPO) which is four months is very problematic, therefore, it should be extended to at least April 2021 in order to ensure favourable pricing for listing any Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) on any international stock exchange.

The CSOs had earlier suggested that the Akufo-Addo administration should suspend the Agyapa Royalties deal due to “lack of transparency” in the process.

But the Ministry of Finance at a press conference responded that the process has been very open to the general public.

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