September 19, 2020
Clickongh

CSOs initiate online petition against Agyapa Royalties deal

Some Civil Society organizations have initiated an online petition to galvanize public support against the implementation of Agyapa Royalties Limited.

Though the Finance Ministry last Friday sought to put all related matters to rest, civil society groups continue to mount pressure for the suspension of its implementation.

President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, who is also a member of the Alliance of CSOs working in Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance, told Citi News that there are still more questions on the deal than there are answers.

“The contract had been okayed by Cabinet as of March 2020. The final contract still has grave issues which show that the government is shortchanging the republic. There are a number of confusing issues. The contract states clearly that we are getting 1 billion dollars and that is based on the fact that we have depressed the value of the asset by 70% and we are getting just about 50 percent.

“There are alternate procedures so they should not go and list on the stock exchange, undervalue it and then raise the stocks and the shareholders will benefit. Unfortunately, the dividends arguments also do not hold. You are likely to get a maximum of 10 million dollars a year but the sad aspect is that they keep confusing everyone that they have only signed 12 mining leases. The government who is shepherding this whole process must bring everything to the table,” he said.

The Agyapa Royalties deal has become a topical issue following concerns from members of the opposition.

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama has alleged that cronies of President Akufo-Addo are seeking to cut dubious deals by buying off 49% shares, in the publicly listed company which the government intends to use as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to raise funds for developmental projects.

Civil Society groups in Mines and Energy have also described the SPV as one which is not transparent and must be suspended.

IMANI, which is among the CSO’s against the deal stated in a document that “the degree of information-hiding has been so intense that, per the official record, it took the Ministry of Finance more than a year to share the full set of agreements with the Government’s own Attorney General following an initial request for legal review in January 2019. Unsurprisingly, the final agreement ratified by Parliament defies many pieces of advice offered by the Attorney General, including a suggestion that the Investment Agreement be limited to a fixed term of 30 years.”

IMANI further contended that the government’s plans of leveraging Ghana’s mineral royalties to secure about $1 billion is an undervaluation of the country’s mineral resources.

“There is a case to be made for diversifying the country’s sovereign wealth strategy and acquiring some geo-economic influence, but that should not be pursued at the high cost of valuing 75% of all of Ghana’s future royalties at 30% of their true value. The $1 billion valuations of these massive resource entitlements is unconscionable and amounts to undervaluing Ghana’s resources by over 65%,” IMANI said.

Source: Business