Business News of 2013-12-04

Prez Mahama announces renegotiation of stability agreements

President John Dramani Mahama on Monday said government would embark on a renegotiation exercise with companies, especially those in the extractive industry on new stability agreements.

He said the current stability agreements which were signed for 20 years and beyond were not favourable to government since the players would continue to receive the same amount of royalties, even if prices of such commodities are rocketing in the world market.

President Mahama gave the hint when former South African President Thabo Mbeki led a nine-member delegation of Economic Commission for Africa High Level Panel on illicit financial flows from Africa called on him at the Flagstaff House, Kanda.

The delegation, which is in the country to hold a consultation conference for member states in West Africa and Central Africa, were at the Presidency to inform him on the steps the panel is taking to ameliorate the plight of member countries.

The Panel that was inaugurated in March 2011 to among other issues monitor the transfer of finances from African countries have so far held similar consultation conferences in Tunisia for Northern Africa and another in Zambia for Southern and Eastern African countries.

It is estimated that the African countries lose about billion every year on account of the illicit financial transfers from the continent and therefore need some effective monitoring system to stem the flow.

President Mahama attributed the huge financial transfers out of the continent to the retention accounts of various countries that are normally outside the countries in which they operate and called for concerted efforts to deal with local banks to strengthen their capacities.

The President appealed to leaders of the Pan-African Parliament to come out with legislations that would be replicated in various countries to compel companies operating in those countries to comply with the dictates of the laws.

President Mahama said Ghana has set up a financial Intelligence Centre to monitor and check up all suspicious financial inflows that could prove detrimental to the growth and development of the economy.

He said the Centre had so far frozen accounts of some companies and individuals and gave the assurance that they would continue to liaise with other stakeholders that would help government to eliminate all illegitimate financial practices.

Mr Mbeki said the continent is losing so much money that could have been used in the socio- economic development of various member countries. He said the panel, would after all consultative conferences be in a better position to make workable recommendations that would be beneficial to all member states.

He expressed dissatisfaction at the current situation, where African leaders do not know the quantum of extractives they are producing.