Parliament will approve controversial Agyapa deal, says Franklin Cudjoe

The Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Policy Think Tank Imani Africa Franklin Cudjoe is predicting parliament will pass the controversial Agyapa deal .

His prediction follows the approval of the 2021 budget statement by the law making house on Friday despite the current composition of Ghana’s parliament.

The 2021 budget was eventually adopted by Parliament after the majority won the head count by 137 YES votes against the minority’s 134 NO votes.

“Budget passed by Parliament. Agyapa will also be passed.,” Franklin Cudjoe tweeted.

Parliament to be re-engaged on Agyapa deal

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given the strongest indication that his government will soon re-engage Parliament on the way forward on the Agyapa Mineral Royalties transaction.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) Tuesday 9 March, Akufo-Addo said the deal which was suspended last year will be revisited soon.

“Let me, at this point, assure the House that, in the course of this session of Parliament, Government will come back to engage the House on the steps it intends to take on the future of the Agyapa transaction,” Akufo-Addo served notice.

The announcement is coming barely a month after Databank withdrew from the controversial deal as transactional advisor.  The decision, it says was based on attempt by certain persons to tarnish its reputation.

Earlier, some 15 civil society groups had called for the termination of the deal arguing that it lacks transparency.

Background

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 Limited to monetize Ghana’s gold royalties. This was after Parliament on August 14, 2020, approved the Agyapa Mineral Royalty Limited agreement with the government of Ghana despite the walkout by the minority.

In exchange, the company plans to raise between $500 million and up to about $1 billion for the government on the Ghana and London Stock Exchanges to invest in developmental projects.

The deal, however, has become a topical issue following concerns first by the opposition National Democratic Congress leading up to the December 2020 general elections.
On August 14, 2020, 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 not being transparent, potentially corrupt, under valued and that it must be suspended for greater stakeholder involvement, according to some of the dissenting voice.

The government has however insisted that the deal is in the best interest of the country.

The President, last year, directed the Finance Minister and Attorney General to review the transaction agreements and make necessary adjustment to address some of the concerns raised by stakeholders, where appropriate.

Fred Dzakpata

Gh Extractives

Ghextractives.com is an independent multimedia portal that seeks to provide credible information and news content to readers especially players in the extractive sector in Ghana, Africa and beyond. It also provides a unique platform for players in the energy sector to market their products and reach a wider audience

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