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Mismanagement of Ghana’s mineral resources led Ghana to HIPC-Dr Matheaw


Campaign Coordinator of Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC), Dr Steve Matheaw has bemoaned the continue mismanagement of Ghana’s mineral revenue. Dr Matheaw said the only way Ghana’s mineral resources can be managed efficiently to the benefit of citizens is when citizens are deeply involved in major decisions without the usual NDC- NPP politicking.

Dr Steve Matheaw charged Ghanaians to be asking themselves why Ghana mined gold for over 100 years and yet Ghana was declared Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) in 2000 under former president John Agyekum Kufuor. The answer he said, was simply due to mismanagement of proceeds accrued from Ghana’s minerals resources.

Ghana, he disclosed overtook South Africa in 2018 as a leading producer of gold in Africa and seventh largest in the whole world. Ghana has earned over 6billion dollars for producing oil which could not solve the country’s problems and surprisingly the country rather opted for 2billion dollars from Chinese loan in exchange of Atiwa forest reserve.

How Ghanaian leaders manages mineral resources now Dr Matheaw noted will determine the country’s progress in future. The citizens, he observed have a stake in how the mineral resources are utilized but somehow failed to show interest and allow few selfish politicians to be imposing their interest on Ghanaians.

Dr Matheaw was presenting principles of the mineral’s income investment fund (Act 2018) during a media engagement in Tamale. The media engagement is part of Alliance of CSOs working in extractives, Anti-corruption and good governance in mobilizing local level support against Agyapa Agreement, Anti-corruption coalition and Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP).  

Dr Steve Matheaw

Dr Matheaw said the level of citizens involvement in major decisions in the management of oil resources should have been used as lessons in the management of any mineral resource but the leadership of the country failed and are bent on repeating same in the Agyapa agreement.

Agyapa he observed has no transparency provisions given credence to suspicious that and urged citizens rise up against it. The ISODEC campaign coordinator executive director told journalists that the CSOs will do their best by explaining the wrongs in Agyapa deal and expect citizens to take keen interest now before is too late for future generation of Ghana.

Pointing several loopholes and inconsistency in the agreement, Dr Matheaw said the agreement stated that proceeds from the royalty are to be credited to the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) within 60 calendar days while the revenue is to be collected every month.

This, he noted, is inconsistency with the policy intent and must be change from 60 days to a month because citizens do not know who will be keeping the monthly revenue collected. He explained that unlike petroleum sector where it is stated explicitly how inter-generational interest in the resource which permitted current generation to spent 91% of the oil revenue leaving 9% for future but Agyapa agreement has shown in clear terms.

He raised issues of dividend payment as contained in section 35 of the agreement arguing that, there is no established rationale or bases for exempting dividend on taxes, in constituting taxes expenditure for which a cost benefit analysis may be require.

“We have suspicious and reasons to believe that some people stand to benefit from this agreement and we can’t forgive the government for such act because there is phototype, they could have relied on’’ the extractive industry expert stated.

According to him, when it comes to transparency, Ghana has done it before in the oil sector and that making mandatory disclosures in the law adding that the only conclusion is that agyapa agreement is careful crafted purposely if not incompetent.

The citizens he said cannot long trust politicians to be sole decision making in the management of mineral resources.  He finds it mind boggling Ghanaian politicians rushing policies to favor foreign investors.’’ny policy maker who says I need to weaken my law in order to make it attractive to investors is either incompetent or corrupt’’.

Akufo-Addo state of Nation address

During his last state of nation address, the president Nana Akufo-Addo reignited the debate on Agyapa by telling the house that, his government will engage parliament on the future of Agyapa. But Dr Matheaw believes bringing back Agyapa to parliament without the major defects being amended is an acceptable.

He also advised Ghanaian politicians not to remembered by citizen as accomplice of corruption but rather be remembered as leaders who acted according to their consciences and the best interest of Ghana. He also advised journalists to not just accept things on the face value but asked probing questions on behalf of citizens who have so much trust on them.

Senior minister son appointment to head Agyapa

On government justification of the appointment of the son of former senior minister as Agyapa Chief Executive Officer, Dr Matheaw belittled government reason, explaining that, any decision that will result in potential conflict of interest, head-hunting is rule out.

What the government should have done in searching for the competent person they told Ghanaians to occupied the position was to open it up through public advertisement and those who stand for potential conflict of interest would have recues themselves.  Dr Matheaw suggested national debate on Agypa to address the defects and secrecy that shrouded the agreement.

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