The government has suspended the controversial Agyapa deal, which leverages Ghana’s mineral resources for $1bn in development finance, for ‘broader consultations.
The decision follows government engagement with civil society organisations, urging government to suspend it, describing the deal as opaque and amounting to ‘elite capture’
In a 15-point statement issued by the Finance Ministry, government said it would be meeting faith-based organisations, traditional leaders, academia and organised labour in the coming days.
The suspension of the Agyapa Royalties deal comes less than four weeks after the bill creating the deal was passed in Parliament – without Minority support.
About the deal
Government is looking for cash to finance capital expenditure and wants to leverage the country’s mineral resources to raise $1bn.
In the deal, 75.6% of royalties of at least 16 gold mining companies will go into Agyapa Royalties Ltd.
The company will list on the London Stock Exchange and the Ghana Stock Exchange and float 49% shares valued at $1bn.
It hopes to get investors to buy shares while Agyapa Ltd collects gold royalties from future mineral resources to pay as dividend to shareholders.
Agyapa Royalties Ltd is also incorporated in a tax haven, British channel island, Jersey, where companies don’t pay corporate tax. It means the company will enjoy considerable tax reliefs.
The Finance Ministry has touted the deal as an opportunity for Ghanaians to own a share of the country’s mineral resources and also an inventive way to raise money for development.
CSOs meet government
At a meeting Tuesday, leading CSOs interacted with the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and requested for further documents to allay their concerns.
The Finance Minister obliged.
Barely 72 hours after the meeting, the Finance Ministry has announced it was holding on, ceding to the demand by the group.
The statement stressed the deal nonetheless was not shrouded in secrecy and that was done in “the full glare of parliament in the spirit and letter of transparency”