Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says he disagrees with some 15 Civil Society Organisations, CSOs who are demanding a suspension of the Agyapa Royalties deal.
According to CSOs, the deal should be suspended until all necessary documents have been disclosed.
However, the Ofoase-Ayirebi legislator says he backs the calls by the CSOs demanding information on the deal but disagrees with them calling for its suspension.
“There is nothing wrong with our friends in civil society saying that they don’t have some information and they will like to have that information. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If that is the request, I believe that we are in the position to provide whatever information that they may request. I do not think however that it is proper for our colleagues in civil society to say that until they see some documents, they are calling for a suspension or they will do something else, I don’t think that is how we are running this democracy.”
He also stated that the government has no intention to hide any information from the public.
“We will not share in this view that this is an opaque transaction, an opaque transaction doesn’t go to Parliament with agreements attached, with legal backing with a full debate on the legal structure and the specific structure transaction as we have done now. There is no intent to be opaque and that is why we have gone through this elaborate transparent process.”
The CSOs are concerned about what they describe as a lack of openness and transparency that has characterised the transaction.
The group under the banner name ‘Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance’ are calling for a multi-stakeholder conference to re-look at the deal.
At a press briefing held in Accra Tuesday, the CSOs also alleged that although efforts are being made to justify the deal by the governing government, some political appointees, and the MIIF Secretariat, numerous concerns are yet to be addressed.
Parliament passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018.
The act establishes the Minerals Income Investment Fund to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies, and receive royalties on behalf of government.
The fund is supposed to manage and invest these royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country. The law allows the fund to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to use for the appropriate investments. Last month, government introduced an amendment to the act to ensure that the SPVs have unfettered independence.
The minerals royalties investment agreement between the government of Ghana and Minerals Income Investment Fund, Agyapa Royalties Limited and ARG Royalties Ghana Limited is concerning Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction under the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978).
The arrangement will immediately make available US$500 million once executed and the remaining half later.