AKER/AGM agreement is ‘highest betrayal by govt’ – John Jinapor
Former Deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor says the AKER/AGM Energy Petroleum agreement is the highest level of betrayal by the current administration.
According to him, the deal smacks of corruption and raises serious transparency and accountability issues.
Mr Jinapor, at a forum in Accra on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, said “indeed, the renegotiated deal was so bad that, Parliament in the exercise of its constitutional duty, could not help but direct the Minister of Energy, Mr. Peter Amewu, to renegotiate the Participating Interest of the State upward from 3% to 10%. Mr Amewu was also directed to ensure a speedy resolution of the issues surrounding the clandestine liquidation of the shares of MED Songhai – the original Ghanaian shareholder”.
“The Minister was further directed to report to Parliament within 6 months…this is what a nation reaps when its President refuses to protect the nation’s silver.
“Interestingly, the Minister refused to act on Parliament’s directive within the stipulated time, a clear case of impunity. On the contrary, to our shock and dismay, with some few days for Parliament to rise, the Minister of Energy presented to parliament yet another amendment to this very agreement alongside another AKER Agreement and demanded approval for very sweeping and outrageous concessions for the Company”, he added.
Mr. Jinapor also said the concessions represent the most radical political attack on Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector since the commencement of the fourth Republic.
He also described the concessions in the amendment as outrageous and that, only a government that has been compromised will ever contemplate plundering the resources of the State to such unimaginable levels.
He recounted detailed amendments submitted to Parliament by the Akufo-Addo government which was declined as follows:
1. Minister’s Reasonable Assistance
This provision obligates the Minister to provide “reasonable assistance” to ensure that Contractors obtain all licenses, consents and/or authorisations required for its work. This most unusual amendment makes the Minister the errand boy for Contractors and undermines the autonomy of regulators and permit givers who are not necessarily under the authority or jurisdiction of the Minister.
2. Production Technology
This provision stipulates that the Minister no longer has authority in approving or rejecting a Plan of Development to determine what technologies will be used in developing and producing Ghana’s hydrocarbon resources.
3. Taxation and other Imports
Sadly, these amendments provide a sweeping tax exemption for Aker and AGM, its sub-contractors and sub sub-contractors. No withholding taxes in the case of AGM and a reduced withholding tax rate of 5% instead of the 15% withholding tax for any work or services or supply or use of goods, both to domestic and international transactions.
4. Sub-Contractor Tax Exemption
Transaction between Sub contractors to sub-contractor is also not subjected to Withholding tax.
The direct beneficiary of these give-aways will be the Norwegian Multinational, AKER which owns and controls both Aker Ghana and AGM and their cronies…Unfortunately, the direct loser is Ghana.
To him (Jinapor), what is more worrying in the agreement is the cumulative of the medium to long term effect of all the give-aways which will be a loss of national control over our precious petroleum resources.
He also revealed that “a lot has gone wrong and continues to go wrong in Ghana’s energy sector under Nana Akufo-Addo” and has gotten to the point that whenever they “see a joint memorandum from the Honourable Ministers of Finance and Energy”, they are filled with trepidation especially as Ghanaians have not yet recovered from the PDS scandal, the Ameri/Mytilineos scandal and the BOST/Movenpiina Scandal.