Some lawmakers in Ghana’s parliament did not know the content of the AGM petroleum deal because they were not provided with copies to enable them to read it thoroughly, yet they voted in favour of it to satisfy the executive, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the opposition Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has said.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Caucus for Democratic Governance Ghana in Accra on Tuesday, 7 May 2019, Mr Ablakwa said the failure of the government to provide all the MPs with copies of the deal for proper scrutiny before the approval sets a bad precedent for the country.
On Friday, 3 May 2019, Ghana’s parliament approved the controversial AGM agreement amidst concerns by the Minority Caucus.
The opposition MPs demanded the immediate withdrawal of the AGM petroleum agreement which saw the country’s stake in the oil contract reduced from 43 per cent to 18 per cent.
The agreement, signed in 2013, was in 2018 being considered for review by the then-Energy Minister, Mr Boakye Agyarko, who said it was not in the country’s best interest.
Mr Agyarko’s successor, Mr John Peter Amewu, has okayed the renegotiated deal with Aker Energy, which the Minority claims will lead to a potential loss of over 250 million barrels of recoverable oil estimated at over $10 billion.
At a press briefing in Accra, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu questioned the essence of the renegotiation.
He said: “We demand that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo withdraw the petroleum [agreement] as has been presented to parliament between GNPC and AGM Aker Energy.
“We say so because it is not in the national interest and would not be in the long-term national interest of the country. Indeed, the state of Ghana is likely to lose a whopping $10 billion to Aker Energy. Indeed, the World Bank, in one of its findings has said that by 2023 Ghana is likely to exhaust our oil resources and, therefore, we should be prudent in its use and management and they have even estimated what we are likely to gain as a country from the exploitation of those oil resources.
Speaking during a public forum in Accra on Tuesday May 7, Mr Ablakwa said: “Elsewhere, Members of Parliaments’ voting record is published and they are questioned: Why did you vote in a particular way?
“In our parliament, we have the votes and proceedings which is produced every day. How many of you go for the votes and proceedings and check how your member of parliament is voting?
“On this matter (The AGM petroleum deal) the votes taken last Friday , and I can confirm to you that this agreement came to the house and you will be shocked to hear from me that they did not even print 275 copies for all 275 Members of Parliament to have copies to peruse so we can consult experts, our research staff. You will be shocked that many MPs have not even seen the agreement and yet voted in line because this is what the boss wants, this is what the president wants.
“Elsewhere there would be consequences for that. Take the vote and proceedings, primaries are coming up within the various parties and every Member of Parliament must account for their stewardship that is what democracy is about.”