CSOs defend calls for suspension of Agyapa Royalties deal

The Alliance of CSOs working on Extractive, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance has disagreed with Government on the reasons for setting up Agyapa Royalties Limited in a tax haven.

According to the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, they chose a tax haven to set up the Special Purpose Vehicle in an effort to avoid a tax on tax situation that comes with investing in-country.

But the leader of the Alliance, Dr. Steve Manteaw in an interview with Citi News disagreed with the reasons government gave for its action.

Dr. Manteaw further cautioned against market repercussions if government does not immediately address the concerns raised over the Agyapa Royalties agreement.

“For the purposes of education, let me explain that royalties are not tax. Royalty is not charged on profit; royalty is a share of production. It is a share of gross production, so he [Information Minister] cannot assume that going to a tax haven is to avoid tax. Secondly, the honourable [Information] Minister is aware that when critical decisions are about to be made, the relevant parliamentary committee will sometimes go on a roadshow to hear from the people who will be affected by the decision.”

Dr Manteaw also argued that should government fail to do the needed consultation before proceeding, the country would lose out if shares are eventually floated on the market.

“Let him tell us and name any group that was consulted apart from Parliament. Right from the beginning, there wasn’t enough consultation on the Minerals Income Investment Act. Investment capitals do not like noise, but there is so much noise around this transaction and it won’t help this country to get favourable outcomes if it went to the market and that is why we are saying they should let us pull the brakes, have further consultations, build consensus before we proceed otherwise this country will be the net loser.”

Agyapa Royalty deal state capture

The Alliance of Civil Society Organisations on Extractives, Anti-corruption and Good Governance had earlier demanded the immediate suspension of the Agyapa Minerals Royalties Investment deal as it described the agreement as state capture.

Addressing the media, Dr. Steve Manteaw, charged government to engage stakeholders to explore other options for raising funds for the government.

In an interview on Tuesday, Dr. Manteaw stated that the CSOs will rally behind NDC flagbearer John Dramani Mahama to ensure the cancellation of the Agyapa deal, as he promised, no matter the cost to the nation.

“What we are telling the government is let’s slow down…let’s have more transparency, more consensus building around the approach before we go forward with the approach. I don’t know of any national emergency that warrants that we should rush the process to raise funds for development.”

“Under the current arrangement, with the Mineral Income Investment act, we do not see any such transparency, accountability and public oversight arrangement, so it makes it very risky and prone to elite capture and abuse.”

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