The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta, has explained forcefully that the Agyapa Gold Royalties deal is a creation of an Act of Parliament, other than a creation by a group to rip Ghanaians of the needed benefits from the country’s resources.
When he appeared before Parliament’s Appointment Committee, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta asked the MPs to check the Hansard, if in doubt, and see the constructive contributions made by Minority MPs, including Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, at the consideration stages of the bill.
Section 3 of the Minerals Income Investment Fund 2018 (Act 978) shows that everything done on Agyapa was completely in line with the mandate Parliament gave the Ministry of Finance and the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF).
The section reads: “The Fund may: (a) create and hold equity interests in a Special Purpose Vehicle in any jurisdiction in furtherance of its objects, and the Special Purpose Vehicle shall be free to operate as a regular, commercial company; (b) procure the listing of the Special Purpose Vehicle on any reputable stock exchange that it considers appropriate; (c) assign or transfer all or any of its rights to minerals income to a Special Purpose Vehicle in furtherance of the objects of the Fund, including through allocation agreements and stability agreements, and (d) assign or transfer all or any of the minerals equity interests held on behalf of the Republic to a Special Purpose Vehicle in furtherance of the objects of the Fund.”
NDC started processes
During the vetting of Mr Ofori-Atta, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu indicated that the processes that gave birth to the Agyapa deal started under NDC government.
As far back as 2010, when then Vice-President John Mahama was Head of the Economic Management Team, the NDC began the process to set up the gold royalty company.
Dr Kwabena Duffuor, who was the Finance Minister, in his 2010 budget, underscored the need for the establishment of Ghana Gold Company (GCC), as a “National Vehicle” for the collection and management of mineral royalties due the state.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister-designate has said the gold royalties deal is vital to efforts in finding new avenues to fund the Ghanaian economy in the wake of the financial constraint imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the impact of COVID-19 across the world will make it difficult to generate revenue through bonds and loans because of the debt situation every country faces.
He noted that the deal provides a vehicle through which the government can leverage its mineral resources to raise equity that can be used to make up for the shortfalls in funding sources.