The Chamber of Mines has urged the government to ensure due diligence before any trade of gold for oil agreements ahead of its implementation in 2023.
This comes against the backdrop of Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia announcing government’s policy to negotiate a gold-for-oil barter deal to address the country’s “dwindling foreign exchange reserves” and the rising prices of petroleum products.
The Deputy Energy Minister, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam said government expects to finalise arrangements and implement the arrangement to ease the high cost of petroleum products in the country as early as March next year.
But Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Dr. Sulemana Koney said government must tread cautiously in such a programme.
According to him, even though the government knows about the Domestic Gold Purchase, they need to know the counterparts who are interested in exchanging gold for oil.
“We know we are in a difficult situation but we need to hasten slowly and make sure that we understand and appreciate what we want to do before we sign the papers.”
“The devil is in the details, we do not have the details and that is the difficulty…this is where government needs to take its stance and go through due diligence. We need to hasten slowly and understand the deal before we sign off,” he said.
He further explained that although the gold for oil deal looks innovative on paper, there is still the need for government to be vigilant.
Meanwhile, former Energy Minister and a member of the mines and energy committee, Dr. Kwabena Donkor says the policy if implemented in a rush could lead to “greater leakage of gold in our system”.
“Even the income tax on small-scale miners when it increases from 3 to about 4 percent we experience a reduction in the quantum of gold sold on the Ghanaian market which then leaves the shores of Ghana. You can detect that half of their product will leave the Ghanaian system through our porous borders.”