The Ministry of Finance has held separate virtual meetings with the Social Partnership Council (SPC) and the leadership of Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) as part of its stakeholder engagement and consultations to deepen the understanding of the Agyapa Royalty transaction.
The Social Partnership Council is made up of the Labour Unions, Ghana Employers Association and Government, represented by the Ministries of Finance and Employment and Labour Relations.
The FBOs include the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the National Associations of Charismatic and Christian Churches and the Ghana Charismatic Bishops Conference.
A statement from the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry said the issues discussed included the nature and benefits of the transaction, ownership, transparency and domain of registration, initial valuation, future prospects, as well as the need to continue to engage with all stakeholders to get their buy-in and support.
In his opening remarks, Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, provided the background to the Agyapa Programme and the need to take advantage of the current all-time high gold prices despite tighter financing conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He highlighted the weaknesses in the current framework for managing the country’s mineral royalties, which does not allow for the targeted use of and accounting for mineral royalties.
He also explained that the current framework limited the benefits that Ghana derived from its mineral resources.
He pointed out that despite centuries of mining and exporting of gold, the mining communities had not seen or benefited in a material way nor had there been any major development in these areas.
The Minister explained that the Minerals Income and Investment Fund (MIIF), which owned Agyapa, “is 100% Ghanaian, Agyapa Royalty is a 100% Ghanaian owned entity until it is listed on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges, where government plans to sell up to 49% shares via an IPO”.
The shares would be dual listed on the London and Ghana Stock Exchanges.
He explained that registering the entity in Jersey, the Channel Islands, was very well intentioned given that a number of international companies, including Tullow and Vodafone, that were listed on the London Stock Exchange were all registered in Jersey.
He said a listing on the London Stock Exchange would ensure that Agyapa Royalty would “abide by the highest standards when it comes to corporate governance and reporting requirements, amongst others”.
Mr Charles Adu Boahen, a Deputy Minister of Finance, in a presentation, gave an overview of the Agyapa Royalty transaction and how Ghana stood to benefit from the transaction and walked the attendees through the process and work that had gone into structuring the transaction from early 2018 to date.
The participants said they were satisfied with the explanation of the transaction and urged Government to ensure that the initiative benefitted all Ghanaians, especially those in mining communities.
They also said the transaction was a good one and beneficial to the people of Ghana.
The Members of the Council and Faith-Based Organisations also advised Government to broaden the engagements and consider providing the presentation in local languages so that more Ghanaians could understand it.