Some selected journalists have attended a forum to enhance their understanding of the issues on the Agyapa Royalties Agreement to ensure a more informed citizens engagement on the deal for wider reach and impact.
The day’s media sensitisation forum, held in Tamale for journalists drawn from the Northern, North East and Savannah Regions, was also to equip them with information on issues related to the Agyapa Agreement and seek their support to use their various platforms to advocate for the suspension of the Agreement.
It was organised by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) in partnership with the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), both Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
It formed part of an initiative by the Alliance of CSOs working on Extractives, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance in mobilising local level support against the Agyapa Agreement.
Dr Steve Manteaw, Executive Director of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), who facilitated the forum, said there was a need for broader stakeholder consultation on the Agyapa Royalties Agreement to ensure that the country was not shortchanged.
Dr Manteaw said the Agreement had no clear investment rules, lacked transparency provisions and accountability arrangements.
He emphasised that “We must protect our collective interest against that of the politician hence the urgent need to reject this deal.”
The government, last year, came out with the Agyapa Royalties Agreement to ostensibly raise resources from the country’s mineral royalties.
However, some Civil Society Organisations and interest groups criticised the deal saying it was not in the interest of the state.
Following this, the government withdrew the deal for further consultations.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, while delivering the State of the Nation Address this week, said the Agyapa Royalties Agreement would soon be brought back to Parliament for consideration.
Mr Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of ACEP, touching on the implications of the Agreement, said it was not about the question of how much the government would sell shares of the Agreement on the stock market but the worth of the royalties moving from one jurisdiction to another.
Mr Boakye further stated that “the Investment Agreement does not set a timeframe for royalties flow to Agyapa under the assigned leases,” saying this posed danger and uncertainty to the country’s mineral resources.
Mrs Beauty Emefa Nartey, Executive Secretary of GACC, appealed to journalists to advocate and educate the citizenry on the implications of the Agreement and the need for government to reconsider its position on the deal.
Mrs Nartey said, “This deal is about us and the generation unborn. If we get it wrong, posterity will not forgive us. Let us not allow our present need to distract our future prosperity.”