Lands Ministry pushes for review of stability agreements

Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John-Peter Amewu is pushing for Ghana to cancel its stability agreements with major mining companies operating in the country.

The Minister Nominee says key in his administration will be to scrap the country’s stability agreements with multinational mining companies.

Mr. Amewu asserts that the Ghanaian economy risks being short-changed if the agreements are not reviewed to meet dynamic trends.

“The stabilization contract in my view should not be allowed for emerging countries like Ghana. Any country or oil rich nation that would want to impose stabilization clauses is because of fear of the IOC or the international mining company of the level of stability in that country. Ghana is a very peaceful country; the democracy that we have enjoyed alone is a credit. As such what is the essence in giving more stabilization for IOCs that may have a fear,” he told Parliament’s Appointments Committee.

Ghana currently has stability agreements with Newmont Ghana Limited, AngloGold Ashanti and Goldfields Ghana Limited.

The contract, among others shields the companies from any effects of new enactments or orders.

Also, the companies are protected against changes to the levels of payments of any customs or other duties relating to mining operations, taxes, fees and other fiscal imposts or laws relating to exchange control, transfer of capital and dividend remittance for an agreed period of time.

A recent decision by the Finance Ministry to renew the agreement with Goldfields Ghana Limited was met with stiff opposition from civil society groups in the extractive sector.

In addition, the Chairman of the government committee set up to review Ghana’s stability agreements, Prof. Akilakpa Sawyer has also lamented what he describes as shoddy work done prior to the signing of earlier agreements.

But John –Peter Amewu maintains that Ghana’s stable political climate provides a conducive platform for an overhaul of stability agreements.

As a remedy, Mr. Amewu argued that the NPP government will provide favourable economic climate to allow mining companies reap benefits on their investments.

“Issues of economic equilibrium is far better than a complete freeze of a contract where there is a change in law, the government has no recourse to do anything, I don’t think it is fair,”

“Through stakeholder discussions and engagements, we should be able to review some of these agreements,” the Lands minister concluded.

 

By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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