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General News of Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Source: 3 News

Mills-Mahama administration sought to introduce Agyapa-like deal in secret – Gabby

Former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute Gabby Asare Otcthere-Darko has noted that nine years ago, the Mills-Mahama administration sought to introduce a deal in the form of the current Agyapa Royalties agreement to monetize Ghana’s gold royalties.

He noted that unlike the current agreement, which went to Parliament for deliberations, the one that was drafted by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not have a parliamentary support and also shrouded in secrecy.

He, therefore, wondered why despite the Akufo-Addo government being transparent on the deal and taking it to Parliament will receive flak from critics who believe the agreement was shrouded in secrecy.

Gabby in a tweet said: “9yrs ago, one Government sought to set up a similar vehicle to monetize our gold royalties without even an Act of Parliament. Today, a Government does it with an Act of Parliament and it is accused of being opaque! MoF then set up the Ghana Gold Company Ltd.”

Ghana’s legislature approved the controversial Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement Friday, August 14 despite a protest from the Minority.

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 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.

“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,” Dr Manteaw stated.

But Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has dismissed those claims and said discussions and deliberations on the deal started as far back as in 2018.

He therefore said the deal cannot be described as one that was prepared hastily.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, August 27, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “The deal was not rushed because we have been working at this since 2018 which it has been very public regards to parliamentary. I am sure we can always do more.

“As we are saying we are a government that for the first time the Ministry of Finance has signed a partnership agreement with trade unions and labour in which we look at our economic policies before we even come out.”





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