Explainer: Agyapa was created by Parliament

Agyapa Gold Royalties Limited is one of the many Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) Parliament has empowered the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to incorporate on behalf of Ghana.

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Not only did Parliament approve the creation of such SPVs, but it also gave the Board of MIIF the power to incorporate Agyapa and other SPVs in any jurisdiction around the world in furtherance of the objects of the Fund.

These are clearly stated at Section 3 of Act 978 as amended which states that the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act of 2018, Act 978 referred to in the Act as the “principal enactment is amended in section 3 by the substitution for paragraphs (a) and (b).

Paragraph (a) reads “hold, directly or indirectly, equity interests in a Special Purpose Vehicle in any jurisdiction in furtherance of the objects of the Fund , and each Special Purpose Vehicle shall operate as a regulator, commercial company.

In paragraph (b) it states “procure the listing of a Special Purpose Vehicle on any reputable stock exchange that the Board considers appropriate”.

It is therefore misleading for a section of the public including some Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to create the impression that Agyapa was deliberately created by a few people to benefit them at the expense of the nation.

At his vetting, Minister-designate for Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, gave the assurance that the new Mineral Royalty Transaction (Agyapa) to be re-submitted to Parliament intends to build a national consensus in the interest of the nation.

He said it would address all the concerns of the relevant stakeholders and receive input from the Legislative House.

"Imagine we have this Royalty Company, which in 20 to 30 years becomes a $30 billion company, which we will have 50 per cent stake...imagine putting this balance sheet to the Bank of Ghana, you literally have a reserve currency that changes your economy," Mr Ofori-Atta stated.

The Akufo-Addo-led Government in 2020 suspended the Mineral Royalty transaction as a result of public outcry and criticisms of lacking transparency and broad consultation.

Mr Ofori-Atta stated, "As we look at the new normal in which there seems to be quite a bit of debt by all countries, what do we do to our natural resources to leverage it into equity?".

"Philosophically, I hope we are all going to come to terms with the reality of diversifying and how we capitalise and fund our nation as we intend to do," Mr Ofori-Atta emphasised.

He noted that resubmitting the deal would help the country achieve consensus in order to clear all doubts pertaining to the transaction.

The Agyapa gold royalty deal primarily seeks to ensure that Ghana gets more from its gold royalties by way of investment as permitted under MIIF Act.

Also, the deal is to help develop new mining projects, attract into the sector increase exploration activity, provide financing to owners of mining concessions looking for equity financing, and ensure rural development as we move forward as a nation.

Creating Agyapa royalties is a novelty to create and launch Africa’s first gold royalty company and showcase Ghana as the premier destination for gold assets and resource mining whilst raising non-debt funding for capital investment.

Mining communities would be prioritised to benefit from these projects.

Also, part of proceeds is to go to support the new National Development Bank and Ghana Infrastructure and Investment Fund.

The Agyapa Royalties Limited was due to receive and manage royalties from 16 gold mining leases over the next 15 years.

It was to trade shares on the Ghana and London Stock Exchanges.

When listed, Government of Ghana, through the Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF), would be the majority shareholder with at least 51% of the shares.

The Company was expected to secure close to $1 billion for four key areas, namely, education, health, primary capital, and infrastructural development.

Future resources from gold royalties were to go to Agyapa’s Royalties Limited shareholders instead of the government.

This was to resolve the challenge government faced in raising capital to finance its developmental projects without having to constantly borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or having to predominantly rely on the bond and capital market.

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