GNPC deal: Describing CSOs as anti-Ghana a totalitarian mindset – Kwasi Prempeh

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Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Professor H Kwasi Prempeh has rejected the characterization of the civil society organizations (CSOs) and activists that have kicked against the planned acquisition of stakes in Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum Ghana oil blocks by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), as anti-Ghana.

Some CSO activists including Bright Simons who is Honorary Vice President of Imani Ghana have rubbished the GNPC’s reasoning for entering into the deal.

Bright Simons said the GNPC’s explanation that it wants to become a major operator in the production of oil within Ghana was “plain nonsense”

“Suffice to say that GNPC’s stints at operatorship of both OSWT and SDWT have been a technical disaster of sheer unproductivity.”

He and his colleagues were described in headline news in a section of pro-government media in Ghana as anti-Ghana following their objection.

But in a Facebook post, Prof Prempeh said “Anti-Ghana paaa? Are you sure this is not the pot calling the kettle black? Despite using the usual ways and means to have their way, they do not want others to have their say. Such a totalitarian mindset. You aren’t satisfied that this sweetheart deal has gone through with little or no real scrutiny or opposition; now you have to go further to tarnish and malign those who sought to ask critical questions about this transaction. And as usual, “economic nationalism” is the convenient smokescreen.

“Just because it is GNPC that is acquiring the interests does not necessarily make it a good or smart deal for Ghana. To the contrary, it is precisely because it is GNPC that’s buying, and with borrowed money in a non-market transaction, that the deal deserves greater scrutiny in the national interest, not the usual perfunctory treatment by Parliament. It is not as though we are ignorant of the record of our state-owned enterprises in managing state assets! We also have the record of other NOCs on the continent, including Nigeria and Angola.

“Why don’t they let the private foreign owner try raising through a private placement on the capital markets well over $1 billion in these COVID times for the interests he seeks to offload and see how much interest that gets from investors who must risk their own, not other people’s money. And when some informed citizens dare to raise questions about the deal, anti-Ghana is what the compradors tag them. You want no questions asked, eh? You people just have it too easy in this town.”

GNPC, through its GNPC Explorco, is allowed to participate in the upstream petroleum sector and it plans to purchase a 70 percent stake in the South Deep Water Tano (SDWT) operated by AGM Petroleum Ghana Limited and a 37 percent stake in the Deep Water Tano/Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) operated by Aker Energy Ghana Limited.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana