Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who work within the extractive sector have reiterated calls on the government to suspend the implementation of the Agyapa Mineral Royalties deal. This, according to the CSOs, is because they suspect the government is massaging the data made available through the Ministry of Finance.
“At our last meeting with the Ministry, some slides containing some data were presented. However, when we requested for copies, those particular slides of interest to us were omitted either deliberately or inadvertently,” a spokesperson for the group, Dr. Steve Manteaw alleged at a press conference held in Accra.
According to him, the development has raised more concerns and questions about the deal, hence the demand for the immediate suspension.
“It is not enough for the Minister of Finance or the government to ask citizens to trust their sincerity and their expertise. It would not be right for them to try to bulldoze through a controversial transaction such as this, and about which genuine questions have been raised by experts as well as by ordinary people.”
“We are therefore reiterating our call on the government to suspend implementation of this transaction pending a national dialogue on options available to optimize Ghana’s mineral royalties,” Mr. Manteaw pointed out.
The demand by the CSOs, follows weeks of heated debates about the controversial deal which is allegedly being implemented in secret.
Already, the Minority in Parliament, together with the opposition NDC and its flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama has threatened to revoke the deal should the NPP be voted out of power on December 7. They had also accused the government of not being transparent with the transaction.
Meanwhile, describing the allegations as baseless, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta had argued that government has made public all relevant details concerning the deal.
He told the host of JoyNews’ Newsfile, Samson Lardy Ayenini that, although government will not suspend the deal, his sector will seek an audience with members of the Council of State, National House of Chiefs, and the CSOs to iron out all concerns raised.
But responding to this, the group under the banner name ‘Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance’ described the statement as unfortunate.
They believe the current stance by the Finance Ministry with regards to the deal raises doubt about the intention of the government.
“While the Minister for Finance has favourably responded to the call for further consultations, he has publicly stated that he will go ahead with the transaction regardless of the serious concerns being raised by a large section of the Ghanaian population.”
“Such posturing raises doubts about the genuineness of the pledge to undertake further consultations.”
“We have so far been constrained in our analysis of this transaction by our inability to access the full complement of data and assumptions used in government’s valuation of the royalties being traded,” Dr. Manteaw concluded.