The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, has urged Ghanaians, especially Civil Society Organisations to base discussions concerning the government’s lithium agreement on facts.
He said this during a stakeholder engagement on the lithium agreement organised by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) on Friday in Accra.
He advised that issues that emanate from the review of the agreement be discussed dispassionately and looked at “through the lens of experts.”
Mr Jinapor refuted accusations that the agreement was shrouded in secrecy, stating that transparency has been the hallmark of the agreement and that the signing ceremony, which included an active media presence, is sufficient evidence of the government’s commitment to the tenets of transparency and accountability.
He cited the listing of Barari DV on the Ghana Stock Exchange, which allows for potential Ghanaian investment through the purchase of shares, the obligation for local participation, and the value addition clauses as key components of the agreement, which, contrary to popular belief, ensures that Ghanaian interests take priority in the exploitation of lithium ore.
“This is the first time that by law, we have made provisions that this company will have to list on the Ghanaian Stock Exchange. They are also required to have a minimum of 30% Ghanaian participation. We already have 19% so we have 11% and it could be more. This arrangement is the number one factor which in my mind jettisons the colonial term of mining. The second one is value addition. We’ve always had export of raw materials but this is the first time we have signed a mining lease with clauses which state that they will have to retain a significant proportion of the value chain by establishing a technical plant and refinery here in Ghana. It has never happened before,” he said.
While welcoming public criticism and suggestions, he urged critics to offer superior agreements rather than outright dismissing the one signed by the government.
He reassured Ghanaians that the government will continue to pursue strategies and policies that serve and defend the country’s greatest interests.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD