My mind is still on Agyapa Deal – Finance Minister

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has advocated for a re-look at the controversial Agyapa Royalties Agreement, instead of abandoning it.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the deal must be taken through the appropriate process in order to make it work because it could reduce the country’s debt exposure.

Speaking during a press briefing to announce details of the African Development Bank 2022 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, the Finance Minister explained that the Agyapa deal “is not about whether the monetisation of mineral royalties or listing of the company is bad or good, it is good because that is how you raise resources.”

“The question is the process of doing that. If we have a problem with the process, let’s articulate it, let’s cure it, but let us not drop something that would be good for us and reduce our debt exposure,” he said.

He said the focus of discussions on the deal should rather be on how best it can be done as opposed to ignoring it completely.

“My mind is still there. I know the President has mentioned something about that,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

Government in October last year disclosed its intention to re-submit a restructured Agyapa Royalties Agreement to Parliament for approval.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, at the inauguration of a newly appointed Board of Minerals Income Investment Fund in Accra on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, stated that the deal has been repackaged to inure to the benefit of the state.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has said it will oppose the Agyapa Royalties Agreement should it resurface in Parliament.

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Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson believes outstanding issues which led to the withdrawal of the deal remain unresolved

“We are saying that the Government of Ghana retaining 1% is not the problem [but] the problem is that we are selling 49% of our shares. That is woefully underpriced,” he said on JoyNews on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

He indicated that checks by the Minority in Parliament, show that the valuation of the deal should be $3.7 billion instead of the $1 billion that has been stated by the government

Also, he held the view that government maintaining its stance to list the deal in Jersey, a tax haven, will not benefit the state in any way.

Agyapa deal

On August 14, 2020, Parliament approved the Agyapa Minerals Royalties Investment Agreement and four related documents to monetise Ghana’s future gold royalties.

Under the agreement, Agyapa Mineral Royalties Limited has been incorporated in Jersey near the UK to receive and manage royalties from 16 gold mining leases over the next 15 years or so.

In exchange, the firm will list on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges (GSE) and raise at least $500 million for government to invest in infrastructure, health and education.

The listing will allow private people to buy a 49 per cent stake in the firm.

However, some 22 civil society organisations called for a suspension of the deal, insisting it is not in the interest of Ghana. | Raphael Ghartey

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