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General News of Monday, 31 August 2020


Agyapa brouhaha should start national debate on setbacks in mining sector – Prof H. Kwesi Prempeh

Prof H. Kwasi Prempeh is Executive Director of CDD-Ghana Prof H. Kwasi Prempeh is Executive Director of CDD-Ghana

Law Professor, H. Kwesi Prempeh, has said the controversy stirred by the Agyapa Royalties deal should be a good opportunity for a serious national conversation about Ghana’s poor returns from its extractive sector.

Commenting on a series of issues on the Agyapa Royalties deal in a Facebook post, the Executive Director of Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), suggested that the current debate about the controversial agreement should also advance conversations around key issues about the mining sector.

“In a different place or time, this would be an opportunity for a serious national conversation about why the country has gotten so little, relatively speaking, from the natural resource that once gave it its name.

“It would be an occasion to discuss and understand the nature of the mining (gold) sector and why many other players in the sector, including foreign companies and third countries, profit far more from the resource than we do. Elsewhere, this would be an opportunity for our economic managers to account for how we have used the mining royalties that accrue to the State from the sector,” he said in the Facebook post.

The post by Prof H. Kwesi Prempeh adds to the plethora of comments that the Agyapa deal has elicited.

In Prof Prempeh’s Facebook post on Monday, August 31, 2020, he notes that comments by a government official that some people are not qualified to debate the matter is “ludicrous”.

“In this matter of Agyapa Royalties, they say Bright Simons is not an investment banker. So what? Why is that even part of the discussion?” the respected Law Professor asked.

He added: “Any suggestion…that a man of Bright Simons' learning and experience, an investor and entrepreneur to boot, cannot or does not understand this fairly simple Agyapa deal enough to debate its promoters is just ludicrous.”

According to him, while the debate about the Agyapa deal is ongoing, it presents a good time to discuss how leakages from the mining sector, including from galamsey, underreporting or other gimmicks, depress the returns to the nation from our nominal ownership of gold.

“It would be an occasion to debate why we are back in the vicinity of debt distress and how best, beyond recourse to episodic, transaction-driven financial innovation, we can get a handle on our debt overhang,” he stated.

Read his full post below.