A Letter to the Finance Minister.
Dear Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta (KOA), would you be so kind as to explain a few things to us on this Agyapa deal?
To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld â€“ there are some known knowns, many known unknowns and even unknown unknowns!
So letâ€™s start with the known knowns, what we know â€“ Agyapaâ€™s source of funds will be our royalty revenue; which has been used in past years for budget support and was part of the governmentâ€™s consolidated fund.
This revenue will now be used by Agyapa to invest in other gold companies and in companies that lend monies to gold companies worldwide; i.e. Gold Royalties or Gold Streaming â€“ the business of lending money to gold mines and being repaid over the life of the loan in gold.
So the People of Ghanaâ€™s fundamental question is: WHY take a risk-free and secure flow of funds (our royalties) and use that to invest in risky, speculative ventures?
This then leads us to the known unknowns. It is our understanding that you want to participate in the stock market by investing in speculative ventures like over-priced gold Funds. Yet, said gold Funds invest in gold companies and in debt instruments of gold mining companies, whose shareholding and risk management you have zero knowledge of.
KOA, I am certain that the people of Ghana do not know this is what you intend doing. Hence, it is important that you elucidate to us Ghanaians, exactly what you want to do and the related risks; you owe this much to the people of Ghana â€“ it is your fiduciary duty!
Lastly KOA, the apocryphal explanations you have provided thus far have done nothing to
ease our minds. If this so-called novella truly is for the benefit of the people of Ghana, why not float the majority of the shares of this â€œwonderful companyâ€ Agyapa on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE)?
This would surely allow Ghanaians to purchase and own at least 75% of what is being offered to Investors. The remaining 25% that would be floated on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) could be offered exclusively to Ghanaians living in the diaspora in order to be inclusive.
This is definitely a more patriotic option than selling the 49% to foreign investors, which people are speculating could be limited to a very few select investors, and perhaps mainly to Friends & Family, directly or indirectly â€“ a notion that is not farfetched, based on your track record from the 2017 bond issuance saga which favored your friend and partner Franklin Templeton; and excluded Ghanaians in the diaspora from investing.
All Ghanaians must be given the opportunity to invest in, and benefit from, what is fundamentally OUR Ghanaian assets.
And finally, the unknown unknown is on the valuation of Agyapa, which requires a whole new set of other questions; some even unknown!!!
Stay tuned Mr. Minister
Former Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana and Immediate past CEO of GNPC