Nobody knows how gold-for-crude policy got to Bawumia’s Facebook page – Kojo Poku

Energy Expert Kojo Poku has said his investigations have revealed that the policy to buy crude oil with gold was announced by the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on his Facebook page when the initial discussions on the move at the National Petroleum Autotomy (NPA) had just started. 

He wondered why the announcement was made on the social media page of the Vice President at a time the discussions had just started.

Dr Bawumia revealed a remarkable new policy by government that would see the government pay for imported oil products with gold rather than through US Dollars.

Revealing the policy in a post on his Facebook page on Thursday, Vice President Bawumia said the policy is expected to take effect by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

He said in a Facebook post that “The Use of Gold To Buy Imported Oil Products

“The demand for foreign exchange by oil importers in the face of dwindling foreign exchange reserves results in the depreciation of the cedi and increases in the cost of living with higher prices for fuel, transportation, utilities, etc. To address this challenge, Government is negotiating a new policy regime where our gold (rather than our US dollar reserves) will be used to buy oil products. The barter of sustainably mined gold for oil is one of the most important economic policy changes in Ghana since independence.

“If we implement it as envisioned, it will fundamentally change our balance of payments and significantly reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency with its associated increases in fuel, electricity, water, transport, and food prices. This is because the exchange rate (spot or forward) will no longer directly enter the formula for the determination of fuel or utility prices since all the domestic sellers of fuel will no longer need foreign exchange to import oil products.

“The barter of gold for oil represents a major structural change. My thanks to the Ministers for Lands and Natural Resources, Energy, and Finance, Precious Minerals Marketing Company, The Ghana Chamber of Mines and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana for their supportive work on this new policy. We expect this new framework to be fully operational by the end of the first quarter of 2023.”

Speaking on this matter on the Ghana Tonight show with Alfred Ocansey on TV3 Tuesday November 29, Mr Kojo Poku said there has not been stakeholder engagement on this move.

He said “Policy credibility is very key. You can count the number of policies that government has said they would do that civil society had come out to say that it is not possible, it is not going to happen that has happened. There is none.

“I don’t even think you can come out with any. Government said they were going to do Agyapa, civil society said it wasn’t going to be possible and Agyapa was not done. GNPC said they were going to do Aker but we said it wasn’t going to be possible to do it and they couldn’t do Aker. PDS, we said it wasn’t going to last, it did not last. We in civil society have a track record in analyzing government policies and telling government that if we do not do extensive and proper engagement this policy will not work and they don’t listen, they go ahead.

“This seems to be one of those policies. I don’t know who in the energy sector that Dr Amin Antah [Deputy Minister of Energy] said they have engaged but I can assure you that they have not engaged any one within our space, within the civil society space.

“I speak to quite a number of them and none of them has been engaged. My little investigation I have done shows that it was an initial discussion at the NPA level and nobody knows why it ended up on the Facebook page of the Vice President.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana