Debate on Agyapa deal should focus on its prospects – Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu
The Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has said the many criticisms against the Agyapa Royalties deal are immaterial to the prospects it holds for the nation.
Speaking to Citi News on the matter, the Majority Leader said the conversation on the transaction should focus on the prospects of the deal.
“For now, because we have passed it already, it’s something that has been concluded. If the president says that because of public sentiments, this thing is nullified and I have to repackage it and send it to Parliament, then we come on board to probe, we interrogate, and to the extent that it will be useful to us as Ghanaians to me that will be the better way to go.”
“Other than that, it’s about who owns it and who did what, and as far as I am concerned, it is no material to what dividends that should be coming to Ghana. The issue should be, have we done sufficient study to arrive at $200 million every year? That is where we should be taking the debate”
The Minority caucus has criticised the deal explaining it remains bad and will not serve the interest of Ghanaians if passed.
It has also indicated, they will kick against the deal if it is brought back to Parliament for approval without any proper changes.
About Agyapa deal
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 dissenting voices. However, the government has insisted that the deal is in Ghana’s best interests.
The then Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu’s 64-paged corruption risk analysis report released in 2020 compounded the woes of the Agyapa deal.
This compelled the president to direct the Finance Minister and Attorney General to review the transaction agreements and make the necessary adjustment to address some concerns raised by stakeholders, where appropriate.