Deputy Executive Director of the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye says government is evading the hard work of ensuring that mineral royalties collected from mining companies reflect the mineral output of the country.

He said government is doing this through the Agyapa deal which according to him, CSOs are not convinced is a good deal for Ghana to be engaged in.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Saturday, the Deputy Director of ACEP said after a careful consideration of several factors concerning how Ghana benefits from the deal, reports show that the deal will not be sustainable and beneficial in the long run to the country.

He said, “It is really not about cynicism or being against somebody at a personal level. But it is part of a national conversation on a national asset that is being disposed off, if you like, it is fine to say equity but essentially, what we are seeking to do is to sell a portion of our future receipts on the stock market hoping to raise money now.

“So we have to interrogate the pros and cons of such a decision and that is essentially what civil society has been doing. And we just published a report looking at the legal issues, how they benefit Ghana, and also on the face of the agreement that we do have, the numbers that have been thrown out in the agreement, how it benefits Ghana.

“And we are still convinced that this is not a good deal that Ghana should be engaged in. and consistently when you have asked the Finance Ministry about the questions about valuation and the content of the agreement the answers you get are that we want to do the best for the country.”

According to Mr. Boakye, what government should be preoccupied with is creating a framework and policies that would optimize the mineral sector and ensure sustainability in the industry.

“And for a country, your role or essential role in mineral governance is your ability to initiate and engineer policy for the sustainability of the industry and also to ensure that you benefit, you optimise your operation to the benefit of the country,” he said.

He added that government should rather focus on ensuring that mining companies pay the right taxes such that mineral royalties actually expresses the value of mineral output in the country.

“Your solution is not to give up on doing the hardwork of ensuring that companies pay the right taxes. You can account for the output of the mineral to ensure that the royalty that you’re collecting is the actual royalty that you’re due as a country, that’s the hard part. To take the little or what you think is not enough to go to go and use that to raise money, you’re evading the actual work that requires action.”

His comments follow indications from the Finance Minister-designate, Ken Ofori-Atta that government will be resubmitting the Agyapa deal back to Parliament for consideration.

According to the Minister nominee, this will help the country to achieve a national consensus-building in order to clear all doubts pertaining to the contract.