Experts at a public forum organised by the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) on the monetization of mineral royalties have made a case for Ghana to take such an action if it intends to make the most of the opportunities in the sector.
Speakers at the forum, including Hene Aku Kwapong, the Founder of the Songhai Group; Kwabena Ata Nuamah Mensah, a Resource Governance Professional; and Carl Odame-Gyenti, a Banking and Finance analyst, argued that countries like South Africa and Saudi Arabia, which have seen large-scale investments in infrastructure were able to do so because they, among other things, monetized their resource incomes.
The forum brought together banking experts, minerals governance experts, academics and students to explore the concept and the best practices in the monetizing minerals royalties.
Dr Carl Odame-Gyenti called for a review of all existing gold mining agreements to enable the country maximise the benefits of monetizing its mineral royalties.
According to him, a restructuring of the gold mining activities in the country would place the country on a firmer footing enabling it to take advantage of the huge cash flow within the gold royalty space.
“A lot is at stake for this country in our gold royalties management and we need to discuss and find a best fit solution to enable us take advantage of the huge revenues in that space,” he said.
Dr Odame-Gyenti said even though the gold royalty business is not new globally, it is a new area for Ghana and venturing into it would require that all the necessary conditions are satisfied.
“The mineral royalties business is about $72billion globally but it is a whole new area for us and there is the need to take advantage of this and invest in there,” he said.
Dr Odame-Gyenti said there are about 23 gold mining companies in the country but unfortunately, all of them are owned by foreigners, stressing that the only way to change the situation is through government investing in the sector.
He insists that monetizing our mineral royalties is the only way government can raise the needed investment.
On his part, the founder of the Songhai Group, Hene Aku Kwapong, said the time had come for Ghana to move away from rent collection and become a real player in the mineral extractive industry.
He said moving away from rent collection would require the country to look at the option of monetizing its mineral royalties.
However, he noted that for the country to derive the full benefits of monetization, there must be a plan that establishes a baseline to identify the gap between where the country is now and where it desires to be.
This, he said, will help the country know exactly what funding is required.
The Chief Executive Officer of the MIIF, in his closing remarks, pledged that the Fund will incorporate all the concerns expressed to ensure that the best deal is secured for the country.
He said it is important for Ghanaians to appreciate the fact that monetizing the country’s mineral royalties is novel, and just like over novelties, it will come with its attendant misconceptions.
Mr Baah pledged to deepen consultations to ensure that the Special Purpose Vehicle for monetizing the country’s mineral royalties, Agyapa, achieves its goals for the benefit of all.