The Government of Ghana is to begin processes towards listing Agyapa Royalties Ltd on the London Stock Exchange in the coming weeks.
Mark Assibey-Yeboah, chairman of the finance committee of Parliament, shared news of the development in an interview with Kojo Mensah on Tuesday morning’s Asaase Breakfast Show.
He was hopeful that the mineral royalties fund – the first ever of its kind on the African continent – will be listed by the middle of September.
The special-purpose vehicle, which will look to leverage substantial sums of money to meet the country’s investment needs, using royalties earned from the extractive industries, will act in the national interest but be beyond direct government control.
Rules on transparency
“We estimate that we could raise between about $500 million and $700 million on behalf of this project,” he said.
“We would have listed some time in May but for the coronavirus pandemic, so that government is looking at by mid-September … we can raise money and move this process forward,” Dr Assibey-Yeboah told the host of The Asaase Breakfast Show.
The rules on listing show the seriousness of intent, he said. “You can’t just go to the London Stock Exchange and list there and take people’s money if transparency rules do not apply: it requires that you go through a stringent process even to appoint the directors.”
Strong prices for gold on the international market and amendment of Ghana’s investment laws are two other factors that have spurred the decision to turn to the London Stock Exchange.
“As a matter of fact, we came back to Parliament to amend the law because there were portions of the law that were business-unfriendly and we also wanted to avoid government control [of the fund],” Dr Assibey-Yeboah said.
What’s in a name?
Commenting on the change of name for the new vehicle, from Asaase to Agyapa Royalties, Dr Assibey-Yeboah described the links that some sections of the media have made between the firm and Asaase Radio as misguided.
The coincidence of names “is much ado about nothing”, he said. Given that there are many other companies also bearing the same name, it ran the risk of becoming “an unnecessary distraction”. “So I advised that why don’t you change the name so we can continue with the business we want to do?” he told Kojo Mensah.
The government has faced a barrage of criticism since last week’s approval of a US$1 billion deal between itself and Agyapa Royalties Ltd.
The investment agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Minerals Income Investment Fund, Agyapa Royalties Ltd and ARG Royalties Ghana Ltd centres around gold royalties monetisation transactions entered into under the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018 (Act 978).
The target is for the arrangement to make immediately available US$500 million, once executed, with the remaining $500 million to follow.