Government Rubbishes Calls For Parliamentary Scrutiny Of Gold For Oil Deal
A Deputy Energy Minister, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam has stated that there is no need for government to put before Parliament, the gold for oil agreement for parliamentary scrutiny. This follows several calls for government to provide contract details of the recent fuel consignment brought under the gold for oil policy.
Already, former President John Dramani Mahama has asked government to send the gold-for-oil agreement to Parliament for scrutiny and approval since the deal is an international financial transaction. Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam said such calls are baseless.
“I am surprised that everybody is talking about parliamentary approval. BOST has been buying petroleum products from international oil traders. Some of the international traders even working in Ghana have been looking for international traders who will bring petroleum products to Ghana. I have never heard anyone saying that they should go to Parliament for approval. So why this time?”
The former President noted that the deal is currently shrouded in complete secrecy with only government officials who are involved in the transaction knowing the details, describing the development as unacceptable. “There is a complete lack of transparency about the transaction, and that is one of the major problems with this government.
They hide everything and do as they please”, he noted. Mr. Mahama believes with parliamentary scrutiny, Ghanaians will have value for money in the gold-for-oil deal and also know the beneficial owners behind the transaction. Industry experts such as the Institute of Energy Securities and COPEC have called on the government to disclose the quantity of gold it exchanged for the 40,000 metric tons of fuel as they raised questions over the viability of the deal.
Meanwhile, the government has disclosed that the policy will not immediately lead to a reduction in fuel prices until more consignment arrives in Ghana. A Deputy Energy Minister, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, said the government didn’t expect the prices of fuel to change immediately with only 10 per cent of the total deal.
The expectation was that the arrival of the 40,000 metric tons would reduce the pressure on forex and also present the country with cheaper fuel, but that has not been the case as fuel prices have increased twice within the period upsetting the majority of Ghanaians. Mr. Egyapa Mercer said the first consignment was just part of the pilot process.
“It wasn’t our expectation that it [gold for oil policy] will have an overnight effect because there are stocks that are already on the market, so you cannot expect that an injection of 10 per cent of the gold for oil policy will suddenly change the pricing dynamics. It is a process and not an event.”