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Politics of Friday, 28 August 2020

Source: 3news.com

Agyapa deal: NDC’s arguments have fallen flat - Nana Damoah

Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah, Head of Communications at Energy Ministry Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah, Head of Communications at Energy Ministry

Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the Energy Ministry, Nana Kofi Oppong Damoah has said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmakers are only seeking to make political capital out of the issues they are raising against the Agyapa Royalties agreement.

He wondered whether or not the minority caucus in parliament did understand what was transpiring on the floor of parliament concerning the deliberations on the deal since 2018 when it was first introduced.

Ghana’s legislature approved the agreement Friday, August 14 despite a protest from the minority. The deal turned out to be a controversial one with many including civil society organisations demanding among other things full disclosure on the deal.

Based on the agreement, Agyapa Royalties Limited (ARL) will trade shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange for private people to buy.

But the Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF) will remain the majority shareholder.

The Minority accused the government of shrouding the deal in secrecy and also said the deal makes it impossible for a future government to replace managers of Agyapa Royalties Limited although the Minerals Income Investment Fund will remain the majority shareholder.

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has also questioned the deal and said he will not recognize it in case he wins this year’s polls.

A group of CSOs led by Dr Steve Manteaw, Chairman of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, noted that the government of Ghana and Parliament rushed in approving the controversial Agyapa Royalties agreement.

Dr Manteaw said at a press conference on Tuesday, August 25 that: “What we are telling government is let’s slow down…let’s have more transparency, more consensus building around the approach before we go forward with the approach.

“I don’t know of any national emergency that warrants that we should rush the process to raise funds for development.”

The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta denied the accusations of the NDC and the others opposing the deal.

At a press conference in Accra, Mr Ofori Atta said: “The challenge for me is the opposition has been aware of this transaction since 2018 and have been part of discussions and negotiations. I can only think that because it is close to elections they may see that there is a political advantage of it.

“This deal is not hasty, it is not new. I saw some of them involved in the discussion in which they were supporting all of that so there must be a new element.

“The only element I can see is 100 days away when on December 7 [we will vote]. They are doing their job as opposition.”

Sharing his views on this development, Nana Damoah told Johnnie Hughes on the New Day on TV3 Friday, August 28 that all the arguments being made in terms of no transparency, no engagements and other claims, have been deflated by the evidence and explanations given by the Finance Ministry following all these accusations.

He said “Clearly, all the arguments of the minority have fallen flat in the face of the answers that have been given.

“If you get to know that it was through a competitive process that the consultant was engaged if you get to know that the arrangement had gone to parliament, had gone to the cabinet and has been in existence since 2018 as the Finance Minister has said, as the Deputy Minister of Finance has said, as the Information Minister has said.

“The minority raising these arguments were consulted and have been part of this process since 2018. The question we should be asking is that from 2018 where did they think this process was going?

“It begs the question of what they were doing and whether they truly understand materially what is going on in parliament.”

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