Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament, James Cluste Avedzi, has rejected the explanations by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and his deputy Charles Adu Boahen on the Agyapa Royalties deal.
Mr Klutse Avedzi who is also the Ketu North Member of Parliament indicated that the deal is bad for Ghana and should be suspended.
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.
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 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 an opposition.”
He added the government is being innovative in the generation of revenue for developmental projects with regard to the Agyapa Royalties agreement.
Mr Ofori-Atta said government is in a hurry to fix the developmental challenges facing the country hence the need to use all manner of means within the legal framework to raise revenue.
“We are excited about the listing of Agyapa in London by the end of the year. It creates the first royalty company of that nature in Africa.
“It is really sad that for a country that has been mining gold since the 15th Century with the Portuguese, we still don’t have any international listing company either in gold or even cocoa.
“This must come to an end and we believe this is a strong statement to register Ghana’s presence going forward.
“We need to create structures that allow us to access the funding. If we don’t do that we allow ourselves to remain captives of the international companies that take our resources and simply market them to the same groups that we choose to ignore.
“There are those who say we should be careful not to mortgage yourself today, the gold in the ground for future generations.”
But Mr Kluste Avedzi maintained that the deal is bad for Ghana.
He said “I will not take this explanation. First of all, we are governed by rules, and laws of this country. Before government can spend out of the consolidated fund, we need a budget, the budget must be approved by parliament.”
He added “now when the 2020 budget was approved by parliament. Mid-year review was done in July and this mid-year review, there was nothing captured in the mid-year review that additional revenue is coming in this form.
“I raised the issue and none of them responded or provided an explanation. As we speak now no approval has been given by parliament for them to spend money.”
He questioned “is it only between August 2020 to December 2020 that you are going to leave office that you want to commit this country to a twisted cash flow that you want to receive now? And a new government comes, and the new government has no cash flow from that sector. We don’t think that this is a proper deal. Those explanations given by them does not work.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana