CSOs in Natural Resource Governance demand wider stakeholder consultation on AGYAPA Royalties Deal

October 7, 2022

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Civil Society Organisations(CSOs) in Natural Resource Governance in Northern Ghana, has urged the government to open up space for a broader conversation around the contentious AGYAPA Royalties Deal which is currently tearing the country apart.

The Agyapa Royalties Deal started two (2) years ago when the Minerals Income Investment Fund (Act 2018) was passed by Parliament with the mandate to manage the equity interests of Ghana in mining companies and receive royalties on behalf of the government.

The royalties and revenue received will then be invested for higher returns, and thus support the government development agenda.

To effectively achieve this, the law gives power to the Minerals Income Investment Fund to establish Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to manage the investments.

Based on the Amendment, the Minerals Income Investment Fund set up a Special Purpose Vehicle, Agyapa Royalties Limited, an offshore limited liability company incorporated in Bailiwick of Jersey in the UK, which happens to be a tax haven. It was incorporated in Bailiwick to avoid the high tax charges to the returns that will accrue to the government from the investments.

But at a one-day stakeholders' Forum held on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Tamale, the CSOs, numbering over 50, said the terms and conditions in the deal, were not clear to Ghanaians, hence their inability to contribute meaningfully to shape the deal to save in their interests, and called for wider and nonpartisan consultation on the matter

The forum was organised by the Foundation for the Transformation of Marginal Areas (TAMA Foundation) Universal, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation.

The meeting brought together about 50 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East and West regions of the North as well as the academia and the media to discuss the good and the bad of the AGYAPA Deal

It also created a platform for experts in the Miles and energy as well as natural environment to explain to the participants the loopholes in the deal and its negative impact on Ghana

The CSOs, in a communique, raised concerns about the lack of coordination among regulatory bodies mandated to oversee the equitable and fair extraction of minerals in Ghana as well as its income and ownership of the beneficiary holders of the deal

The group also called for citizens' accountability in the use and management of the Income gotten from the nation's minerals

They also said the AGYAPA Deal, in its current form, was bad for Ghana as a country, hence the need for the government to rethink its decision

The CSOs further called on the government to make sure that the citizens, benefited satisfactorily from the mineral resources that the nature has given to the state

“The key issue with the AGYAPA Royalties Deal is the beneficiary ownership and the lack of transparency regarding the deal is quite worrying,” they said

Furthermore, they urged stakeholders especially the media, to be interested in the AGYAPA Deal, by bringing out the issues in it to help inform the citizens to be able to make a conscious decision so that the government would not impose it on Ghanaians

“We the Civil Society Organisations in Northern Ghana, recommend that we demand a broader, wider and adequate consultation on the AGYAPA Royalties Deal to let the citizens know what is in it,” the CSOs said.

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