Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has reiterated government’s intention to address all issues raised by stakeholders about the proposed Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal before re-introducing it to parliament.
According to him, the botched deal has been reviewed by the Attorney General’s office and will be re-submitted to parliament soon.
The Finance Minister made this known when he inaugurated the nine-member board of the Mineral Income Investment Fund in Accra on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
““The Attorney General has looked at it. We had a few stakeholder meetings and I think the new board should be energised to review that and go through the parliamentary process. I’m unequivocal that it is the way to go in terms of monetising our minerals and finding a way to leverage mining” he said.
He also assured the people of Ghana that the Agyapa transaction to monetize some of Ghana’s gold royalties was done in the national interest and in accordance with the laws of the land.
He also charged the new board members to ensure that the transaction goes through after parliamentary approval, as it is the best vehicle to support the country’s development through the mining sector.
Board Chair of the 9-member board of the Minerals Income and Investment Fund is Prof Douglas Boateng.
Other members of the new board include: Felicia Nana A. Dapaah Gyamfi Ashley, Prof Akosua Apea Osafo, Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, George Mireku Duker, Kow Abaka Essuman Esq, Associate Prof Grace Ofori Sarpong, Rev Ammishaddai A Owusu-Amoah, Dr Maxwell Opoku Afari.
In 2018, Parliament passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018, which establishes the fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies and receive royalties on behalf of the government. The purpose of the Fund is to manage and invest these royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.
The government then, through the Minerals Income Investments Fund (MIIF), set up Agyapa Royalties Ltd to monetize Ghana’s gold royalties. This was after Parliament approved the Agyapa Mineral Royalty Ltd agreement in the name of the Government of Ghana on 14 August 2020 despite a walkout by Minority members of the House.
In exchange, the company plans to raise between US$500 million and roughly $1 billion for the government on the Ghana and London Stock Exchanges to invest in development projects. However, the deal has become a subject of hot debate after concerns expressed first by the opposition National Democratic Congress, leading up to the December 2020 general election.
However, a few days after approving an amendment to the MIIF Act, the Minority walked out during the approval process of the very transaction agreements, the facilitation of which the amendment to the Fund’s statute was amended.
Civil society groups quickly added their voices to the opposition, describing the special-purpose vehicle (SPV) being created then, Agyapa Royalties of Jersey, as being opaque, potentially corrupt and undervalued.
They insisted that the deal must be suspended to allow for greater stakeholder involvement, according to some of the dissenting voices. However, the government has insisted that the deal is in Ghana’s best interests.
Last year, the president directed the Finance Minister and Attorney General to review the transaction agreements and make the necessary adjustment to address some of the concerns raised by stakeholders, where appropriate.