Fresh information filtering in has revealed that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has not been sincere to Ghanaians on monetization of the country’s gold royalties for infrastructural development.
Contrary to allegations by the main opposition party that Agyapa Mineral Royalties transaction is a grand scheme by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) to fleece the state, a veritable document sighted by THE CUSTODIAN has uncovered that Mills-Mahama government attempted a similar deal in October, 2011.
Surprisingly, the opposition NDC is kicking against the Agyapa transaction, claiming the country’s mineral resources are being mortgaged through the arrangement.
In a memorandum sent to the Parliamentary Select Committees on Finance, and Energy and Mines by the Ministry of Finance on October 30, 2011, the NDC government initiated moves to set up Ghana Gold Company, responsible for all equity being held on behalf of the state.
It called on Parliament to enact an Act for the establishment Ghana Gold Royalty Fund (GGRF).
The Fund was seen as a national vehicle that could create capital from future royalties and other assets.
The memorandum also proposed a separate company known as Ghana Royalty Holding Company, which will solely be responsible for trading of the country’s royalties to raise capital from private markets.
“Currently, Ghana has shares and carried interests in a number of mining companies that enable Government to receive significant cash flows from royalties and dividends.
“The current increases in gold prices, increased demand for gold exposure by investors, and the appreciation in the equity interests in the gold mining companies present a unique opportunity for the Government to consider the monetization of all or portion of its gold interests to deliver a significant capital sum to support the nation’s growth and development.
“Beginning in fiscal year 2011 therefore, Government will commence discussions on the establishment of a national vehicle, the ‘Ghana Gold Company (GGC)’, which will hold the country’s gold royalties and equity interest”, the NDC memorandum stated.
The memorandum indicated that the Ghana Gold Company was to maximise the value of the country’s carried interests in producing and future gold mines in the country, as well as existing royalties coming of those mines.
According to the document, all of Ghana’s existing gold royalties and interest, including options to increase the country’s stake in gold mines, shall be transferred to Ghana Gold Company.
Former President John Mahama who is now the flagbearer of the NDC for the 2020 elections, has threatened that he will not respect the Agyapa royalty deal if he is re-elected into office.
Mr Mahama who was the Vice President under the late Mills and during the initiation of the royalty company, said it was in the right direction because for him it was going to yield maximum benefits for the state from its mineral resources.
Government through the Ministry of Finance has explained that Agyapa, which is currently state-owned until it is listed, shall acquire gold royalties, receivable and interest directly, manage a portion of all royalties and interest, purchase from government the gold royalties and interest due government from gold mines, and provide financing to gold companies in exchange for royalties and equity.
The arrangement, according to government, also seeks to maximise the benefits and returns to its shareholders and facilitate the raising of equity or debt capital to fund strategic initiatives.