The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has said that, the structure of the Agyapa Minerals Royalties deal that was yet to be assented by cabinet was a creative way of maximizing the country’s mineral resources.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra last Thursday, Mr. Ofori-Atta refuted claims by the minority that the current structure of the deal was not in the best interest of the country.
According to the Minister, the minerals deal provided the country with the opportunity to take full control of its mineral resources and increased its revenue inflow rather than sign it off to foreign companies who mined these resources and pay meagre sums of money to the state as royalties.
“There are those who say we should be careful not to mortgage ourselves today, the gold for our future generations. This is not the case. But I have a few questions for people who have those concerns. If it is okay for foreign investors to hold concessions to sell what is on the ground up front then why not us? More importantly, why is it okay to borrow today for the future and not good to use our resources to leverage assets for tomorrow?
“We must be creative in our quest to raise revenue to support our development by giving direct access to our resources in a manner that is open and transparent and operates within laws that exist outside our country. It is time to re-imagine our future. We all must be tired of being cheated by foreign companies and also restraining ourselves with this same vehicle they use. We have to maximize the value of income that is due the republic… That is the prime objective of the MIIF,” he added.
His remarks came on the heels of series of allegations from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Civil Society groups in Mines and Energy claiming that government established the Agyapa Gold Mineral Royalty Limited to mortgage the country’s mineral resources to enrich the current administration.
The finance minister maintained that the transaction was wholly in the best interest of the country and was devoid of any conflict of interest.
“May be there needs to be a reduction in the cynicism to understand that what we are doing is really to promote where Ghana needs to go and where it needs to be. I think that the issue of taxes in a sense is almost like being more of a catholic than a pope. The world consist of structures of all sorts to be able to generate resources. Now if I therefore, need to go to the London Stock Exchange, I don’t want my company to be taxed twice and it is not an issue of I am doing something wrong and therefore we use the platform to be able to deliver so that we get our money back,” he added.
Source: MOI (PR Unit)