The Minerals Income Investment Fund (‘MIIF’) has held its first stakeholder engagement series with Civil Society Organisations (‘CSO’s) and other stakeholders at the Marriott Hotel in Accra. The purpose of this engagement with CSOs was mainly to provide an overview of the setup of MIIF, performance of MIIF and its potential as a lever for the development of the mining sector. The engagement, was also to create a contribution loop where CSO’s and stakeholders could constructively critique MIIF and its programs, provide inputs into the workings of the company, provide an avenue to answer all questions around MIIF and to advance an inclusionary path going forward.
The Forum was attended by Civil Society Organizations, partner agencies such as the Mineral Commission, EOCO, Ghana Revenue Authority and industry players such as the Chamber of Mines, Academia and selected members of the media. Some of the speakers were Hon. Mireku Duker, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, the former Managing Director of Stanbic, Chief Alhassan Andani, the Managing Partner of AB & David, Mr. David Ofosu-Dote, the Managing Director of Ghana Stock Exchange Ms. Abena Amoah, Mr. Eric Asubonteng, Senior Vice President-Africa Non-operated JVs, AngloGold Ashanti , Mr. Kwame Jantuah, Chairman Oil and Gas Association of Ghana industries and Mr. Forster Gyamfi, Ghana Extractives Transparency Initiative.
Concept of MIIF highly commendable
“I think the government should set up more MIIFs” said David Ofosu-Dorte, a Senior Partner of AB& David, the fifth largest law firm in Africa. “The idea of ringfencing your royalties or windfall to generate more wealth in the value chain is a commendable Idea. I think we should have created a ‘MIIF’ much earlier for Cocoa and Timber amongst others to be able to generate more value for those sectors,” Ofosu-Dorte said when he delivered a presentation on ‘Minerals Regulation, Investment Framework & Value Maximization: Lessons from Ghana and other Jurisdictions.
Collaboration with CSOs and stakeholders
Chief Alhassan Andani, the former Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Founder and Executive Chairman of LVS Africa, a value investing partner in entrepreneurs observed, the MIIF story of growth under a robust investment framework is commendable and in need of more collaboration with private, public, and civil society organisations.
“What I hear around the room is more collaboration to further deepen the good work of the fund. How can we work together with the CSO’s here present, the knowledge in the mining and the business community to create and sustain the wealth that comes out of gold and other precious minerals bestowed on this country by God?
Chief Andani affirmed his view after partaking in a high powered panel discussion among discussants which included, Abena Amoah, the Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange, Eric Asubonteng, a Senior Vice President of Goldfields and former President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Prosper Fosu, a Principal Executive of the Ghana Extractives Transparency Index (GHETI). Other discussants on the panel were Kwame Jantuah an energy and minerals executive and a former member of the National Development Planning Commission who is also an active participant on the Ghana CSO’s platform as well as Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, the CEO of MIIF.
Transparency and Civil Society involvement
A cross section of CSO’s in the extractives sector endorsed the path of stakeholder involvement that MIIF is threading and the Fund’s transparency approach. The fact that MIIF has come into the public arena to educate and consult stakeholders and has recently published its audited accounts for the 2021 and 2022 financial years especially came in for recommendation.
Dr. Theo Acheampong, an Economist and Political Risk Analyst who moderated the event, Ben Boakye the Executive Director of the African Centre for Policy Analysis, ACEP and Patrick Stephenson an Extractives Governance expert commended MIIF for opening up to Civil Society Organisations and demanded that MIIF maintains the Stakeholder Forum platform for consultation and robust criticism in the interest of the country.
“We need a forum like this to keep the communication lines between the Fund and Civil Society opened. We seek the long-term interest of Ghana, and we should not be seen as antagonists or a disruptive group. The CSO’s can even agitate for the law that governs MIIF to be beefed up so that we can protect the gains you are making for the country. We only want to ensure that Ghana’s interest is protected at all times.” Stephenson said.
Ben Boakye of ACEP who is one of the strongest advocates for resource governance and research echoed the concerns of Ghana’s CSOs. “A forum like this is important as we have the opportunity to discuss issues pertaining to the Fund. We ask questions about governance and investment decisions because it is public money, and it has to be invested right. I have heard some very good things today and we need more collaboration so MIIF can become better”, said Ben Boakye.
“The concept of creating MIIF is commendable. The Fund needs to get the CSO’s involved. I have heard today of some of the brilliant strategies MIIF is pursuing and the value the Fund brings to the minerals subsector. We need MIIF to continue to be successful for the sake of Ghana’s future. The Minerals Income Investment Fund is definitely on a good path.” Dr. Acheampong said.
Value Chain development is the only way to local wealth creation.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker said: “Ghana has not realized yet the full value that we deserve from mining gold over hundreds of years. This is because we have not developed the value chain that is around mining. Without the value chain development intended to create local wealth from the resources, acquire know-how and boost employment, we will forever live on scraps and not enjoy our God-given natural resources”.
The Deputy Minister was delivering the keynote address that opened the MIIF Stakeholder Forum. He said the importance of mining could not be overstated as both large and small scale mining provided jobs for more than 4 million people, people being 13% of the country’s population.
To be able to properly benefit from mining, Hon. Mireku Duker said government is aligning the laws that will create space for Ghanaians in the value chain. “For instance, mining supplies – thanks to work by the Minerals Commission and my ministry, are now wholly in the hands of Ghanaians. Additionally, tailings storage facility construction, medical services, assaying, and motor-rewinding are now reserved exclusively for Ghanaian businesses However local content supplies based on importing from abroad and selling are meaningless if we don’t take steps to encourage manufacturing and selling; a lot of wealth ends up being exported to other countries. MIIF and the Minerals Commission (MINCOM) to work together to create the capacity for local business in the value chain to thrive and create that long term ability to benefit enormously from the value chain.”
At least 90 participants drawn from CSOs, the mining Industry, the Ghana Stock Exchange, Small-Scale miners, and Mining Suppliers took part in this initial MIIF stakeholder Form.
MIIF was set up the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act, 2018 (Act 978) as amended to receive royalties from minerals accruing to government, invest those royalties to secure the future wealth of the country and also manage the equity interest of Ghana in large scale mining firms. Founding on this three-pronged mandate of the fund, the current management and board of MIIF have developed unique strategies for all 11 minerals that currently pay royalties to government. MIIF has significant equity in Asante Gold Corporation, a Ghanaian, Canadian and Frankfurt listed Explanation and Mining company and has closed a $32.9 million two part investment in Atlantic Lithium an Australian company which has discovered commercial quantities of Lithium in Ghana.