General News of 2013-12-04

Tony Aidoo: Kufuor’s Government destroyed Ashanti Goldfields

The former Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency, Mr Tony Aidoo, Wednesday accused former President J.A. Kufuor’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration of destroying Ghana’s only indigenous mining firm of international repute – The Ashanti Goldfields Corporation (AGC).

According to Mr Aidoo, the NPP administration ‘destroyed’ AGC by selling “the 25 percent golden shares” that gave the Government of Ghana veto over any corporate decision taken by the company.

“At the end of the day, all our shares vanished into thin air. I was holding Ghc4 million shares… at the end of it, the value of my share was Ghc4000. It was completely destroyed” he said, adding that it was irresponsible on the part of the administration to have disposed of the veto.

Mr Aidoo, who was contributing to a discussion on “illegal mining” on Accra-based Joy FM, expressed the view that large-scale mining has not benefitted Ghana in any way. He said a comparative cost-benefit analysis would establish that mining has been counterproductive to Ghana’s prospects of industrialisation.

According to him, large-scale mining has only led to the destruction of Ghana’s “arable agrarian” lands.

“I believe that we are not getting anything out of mining,” he said, stressing that it was time the government did a cost-benefit analysis of the value of mining to the growth of the nation.

“We should reduce the scale of an industry that does not give us value. We don’t get more than five per cent from mining related activities. At the time that they (large-scale mining companies) were making windfall profits, we didn’t even have the courage to collect our share.”

Mr Aidoo went on to talk about the possibility of propping up illegal small-scale miners and getting rid of large-scale mining companies.

He said: “Between those large-scale miners and small-scale miners, I’ll go for the small-scale miners and tell these foreigners to get out.

“We have a natural resource that is not renewable, the more you take, the less we have. And I’m saying if you can get 10 per cent of the value (and we not even getting 10 percent from these big, large-scale miners) and keep 90 per cent in the ground, we are better off.”