We remain opposed to Agyapa deal – John Mahama

Former President, John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his party’s opposition to the Agyapa Royalties deal, following recent public discussions on the subject.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the 2020 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), indicated that the NDC will vigorously oppose the deal; as government is yet to clarify certain allegations, surrounding the transaction.

“As I emphasised in my presentation on Ghana at a Crossroads: “Government must clarify reports which are rife in the investment community that it intends to use the Heritage Fund as collateral to raise a US$2 billion loan from a consortium of banks.

We wish to serve notice that if this turns out to be true, we in the NDC will oppose it vigorously in the same way that we oppose the Agyapa deal.

We cannot support the collateralization of every single source of future revenue just to finance today’s consumption”, the post said.

Mahama’s comments are in the wake of a recent call by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, for a re-look at the controversial Agyapa Royalties Agreement, instead of abandoning it.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said the deal must be taken through the appropriate process in order to make it work because it could reduce the country’s debt exposure.

Speaking at a press briefing to announce details of the African Development Bank’s 2022 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, the Finance Minister explained that the Agyapa deal “is not about whether the monetisation of mineral royalties or listing of the company is bad or good, it is good because that is how you raise resources”.

However, following these remarks, scores of concerned citizens, have rehashed their concerns with the deal, and urged government to discard it altogether.

In connection with the public sentiments, a honorary Vice President at IMANI Ghana, Bright Simons, has stated that, the deal, remains ‘unconscionable’ and ‘unpatriotic’.

He made these comments, while contributing to discussions on NewsFile on Saturday.

In his submission, he repeated the point that, the deal will not inure to the benefit of Ghanaians, and therefore the need for it to be completely discarded.

According to him, the structuring of the deal alone, gives reason for worry; given that it threatens the minimum royalties Ghana derives from its gold and mineral reserves.

“The most important is that, no government should be given the power to deny future governments of revenue in the fashion that is being proposed at the rate that is being proposed.

We’ve seen instances where consistently, the current government takes future streams of income that other governments will use, front loads it, keep that money for today, and forgets about future generations.

Think of all the money from ESLA or the energy levies. Think of the monies from the GETFUND. And consistently, we create these structures, front load the money, spend it, forgetting how we are going to pay for our other debts in a few years forward. We think that is not really acceptable”, he lamented.

He also added that, “there should be a sense in which even if the government wanted to securitise the gold, through a much more cleaner, efficient process than has been proposed, they should not be looking at all the discretionary income that we earn from royalties apart from those that are bound by statute to other purposes.

That money that they want to put in, they should have put it in a smaller fraction of the gold at a much higher valuation”.

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