John Jinapor

Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, John Jinapor, says his side will not tolerate the re-introduction of the Agyapa minerals royalties deal.

This follows hints by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta about the revival of the deal.

The deal, which seeks to securitize Ghana’s mineral resources for development, was dropped following stiff opposition.

But the government says engagements are ongoing to retable the deal in Parliament.

In an interview with Citi News, John Jinapor urged government to find ways of protecting Ghana’s mineral reserves instead.

“The Finance Minister has made the pronouncement, so we are waiting for what he will bring, but from my point of view, we should be thinking about saving money. We should be building buffers rather than spending future receivables.”

“The Minister has already given a hint of collateralizing the unpopular E-levy, so to add Agyapa to it and collateralize our mineral resources for me is most unfortunate. It is untenable because COVID-19 has taught us that, we cannot predict the future. That is a position we [Minority] will maintain.”

Speaking at the Minister’s press briefing in Accra on Thursday, May 12, 2022, Ken Ofori-Atta hinted at government’s intention of ensuring that the Agyapa Royalties deal sees the light of day.

For him, the deal is a good one as it will help the country  raise resources from the capital market and reduce its debt exposure.

“It 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”, the Finance Minister explained.

His comments come after the Minerals Income Investment Fund was reported to have said that it is redesigning its strategy for listing the Agyapa Royalties on the London Stock Exchange and the Ghana Stock Exchange.

“If we have a problem with the process, let’s articulate it, let’s cure it, but let us not drop something that would be good for us and reduce our debt exposure. My mind is still there [on Agyapa]. I know the President has mentioned something about that,” the Minister added.

The Agyapa Royalty deal was proposed by the government last year to raise funds through mineral royalties for key infrastructure projects, but could not be passed after stakeholders rejected the deal.

The deal became a subject of hot debate after the opposition National Democratic Congress and some stakeholders kicked against it.

The opposers of the Agyapa deal insisted that the deal is bad and inconsiderate because it will invariably mean “mortgaging the future of the youth”.

According to John Mahama, the Akufo-Addo-led government is only interested in mortgaging Ghana for everything.

“They have sold everything for loans. Now they don’t have anything to sell anymore. It is our gold that is left, that is the Agyapa they want to do,” Mahama said in an interview on Cape 93.3FM.

“Because they see that they’ve sold the utensils, they’ve sold the chairs in the hall, the bed in the bedroom has been sold, now they are looking for the next item to sell. They have settled on the windows to sell. That is our gold, which they want to sell this time. They want to use that to go and collect over one billion dollars”, he lamented.

He said government has always received a 10% stake as gold royalties. He said the Akufo-Addo government intends on mortgaging the 10% stake for loans to spend today.

The 2020 presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the Akufo-Addo government has benefited the most from Ghana’s resources and accrued the most revenue, but this has not reflected in the development of the country and on the living standards of the people.

“Even though the ESLA bond we brought was supposed to be for five (5) years, today, the last ESLA bond they did, they have extended it to between 20-30 years. It means you and I, our children and our grandchildren will continue paying the loan until beyond 2030. GETFund has been mortgaged for the next 15 years. This means all contributions we pay for GETFund will only go toward paying loans and not for anything else”, he explained.

“Our children will pay and pay and pay but won’t be able to finish paying. Our grandchildren will take over from them and continue paying the debts,” he added.

H.E. Former Prez. John Mahama, therefore, warned that “If we don’t halt this trend government appears set on, it will get to a point where we can no longer pay our debts.”

The woes of the deal were subsequently compounded by a 64-paged corruption risk analysis report released by the then Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.

The government subsequently suspended the deal.