The Arise Ghana group is demanding an immediate cancellation of the ‘Agyapa Deal’, warning that it will not sit and watch a few selfish thieves in government benefit from the country’s mineral royalties.
Last year, there was a lot of opposition from the citizenry when government planned to monetize the country’s mineral resources through the Agyapa deal heightened.
Government is seeking to push the deal through after it was initially shot down by CSOs including prominent citizens.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, Mordecai Thiombiano, General Secretary of the group has warned that it will not watch on for a fraudulent scheme dubbed “Agyapa” to see the light of day which only seeks to benefit a few.
“We demand an immediate and total cancelation of the Agyapa Royalties deal as same is not in national interest.
“We will never sit aloof and allow a few selfish and greedy thieves in government to appropriate our mineral royalties for themselves and their families,” he stated.
Arise Ghana insists that the time has come for all conscientious Ghanaians to arise and “Save Ghana Now”.
Below is the press statement issued by Arise Ghana;
MAIDEN PRESS CONFERENCE BY “ARISE GHANA” TO ADDRESS CRITICAL ISSUES OF POLITICAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE TO OUR DEAR NATION.
Wednesday, 25th May, 2022
Good morning, ladies and Gentlemen of the press.
We have the honour of welcoming you to this maiden press conference of “Arise Ghana”, a coalition of patriotic, conscientious and concerned Ghanaians drawn from various political parties, including the Peoples’ National Convention (PNC), the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), the Ghana Union Movement (GUM), the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), the All People’s Congress (APC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), various Civil Society Organizations, the media, the creative arts industry, Driver Unions, Traders and citizens from all walks of life.
Distinguished friends from the media, “Arise Ghana”, is an amalgamation of activists who through advocacy and nationalistic mobilization, will seek to lead a crusade against the continuous misrule, mismanagement and maladministration of our dear nation Ghana by today’s duty bearers. We are determined to relentlessly champion the common cause of the Ghanaian people, provide a voice for the voiceless and vigorously seek reforms that will bring about the needed change in the socio-economic, politico-social and general wellbeing of the Ghanaian citizenry.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to a point in our nation’s history where to remain silent is not an option. This is so because, to be silent is to encourage the continuous triumph of evil. To remain quiet over the present state of affairs is to encourage the continuous slide of our country into the abyss. Choosing not to speak about the current state of affairs means being complicit in the ongoing state capture and the sacrifice of our collective future on the altar of instant gratification. We obviously cannot afford the option of remaining silent.
Friends from the media, there are hardly enough words to describe the harsh economic realities of Ghanaians today. Fuel prices keep rising at the pumps every day, with its concomitant effect on transport fares, prices of food and general goods and services in the country.
The price of fuel in Ghana today remains one of the highest in Africa. As a result of this, the distance between Kwame Nkrumah Circle and Kaneshie, costs the ordinary man in a Trotro, Ghc3 as we speak. Today, the distance from Madina to Kasoa requires a transport fare of Ghc12 even in public transport. In fact, one requires a whopping Ghc200 to travel from Accra to Tamale, a distance that used to cost the commuter Ghc100 in the year 2019.
Inflation rate continues to gallop at an alarming rate and stands today at 23.6%, the highest in 18 years, thereby spiraling weekly hikes in prices of foodstuffs. A recent survey by Metro TV which was published on Sunday, 22nd May, 2022 revealed that an Olonka of Maize which sold for GH12.00 only last week, now sells for GH15.00 this week, while a sack of maize which sold for GH450.00 only last week, now sells for GH650.00 this week. In similar vein, a sack of yam which was selling at GH350.00 last week is now selling for GH450.00 this week, while a box of tomatoes which hitherto was sold at GH1000.00 last week is this week going for GH1,200.00.
From this market survey which was done over a period of just one week, it is clear that cost of living in Ghana today is at an all time high. With Government’s much-touted Planting for Food and Jobs program remaining a monumental failure, coupled with the ever-increasing cost of agricultural inputs and mechanization services, the threat of food insecurity looms ever larger on us than before.
In fact, the purchasing power of the ordinary Ghanaian has fast deteriorated due to the unbearable cost of living thereby inflicting untold hardships on Ghanaians. Things are continuously getting worse by the day with no end in sight.
Worsening Economic Conditions
Distinguished friends from the media, the economy continues to wallow in the doldrums, with all economic indicators nose-diving while Government looks on helplessly. The Cedi’s free-fall continues unabated as a result of the failure of Government to translate its rhetoric into action. Today, the Cedi trades at about Eight Cedis, 50 pesewas to the US Dollar. The continuous depreciation of our national currency against its major trading partners continues to wash away the profit margins and in most cases, the capital of many businesses and traders who depend on forex exchange to import vital goods into the country. This situation has further aggravated the alarming rate of inflation the nation is presently experiencing.
Even more worrying is the alarming rate of joblessness and hopelessness in the country, especially among the youth. Today, the rate of unemployment has risen to an all-time high, having moved from 6% in the year 2017 to a staggering 13.5% as at 2021.
In deed, our dear nation is presently in a deep economic mess. The country has lost access to the international capital market due to our unsustainable debt position. Our Public debt has increased to unprecedented and unsustainable levels from GHS120 billion cedis to over GHS391.9 billion cedis only in the last five and half years. This means that at a minimum, this government alone, since 2017, has added a whopping Ghc271.9 billion to the national debt stock, with a chunk of this going into consumption. Debt to GDP ratio has galloped from 56% in 2016 to about 80% as we speak, while our debt service burden has moved from about GHS14 billion cedis as at December 2016, to a whopping GHS50 billion cedis.
This economic situation which is our worst performance in the history of this Fourth Republic has worsened our credit worthiness and dampened investor confidence in our economy leading to our worst ever downgrades by reputable sovereign credit rating Agencies such as Moody’s and Fitch. Simply put, our beloved Ghana is broke and this is a direct product of the bad leadership, insensitivity, misplaced proprieties and gross economic mismanagement of the present Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration.
While wages of the Ghanaian worker remain static, with almost all labor unions up in arms over poor wages in the wake of worsening economic hardships, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government continues to impose killer and draconian taxes on the already burdened taxpayer. The recent passage of the obnoxious E-levy and its subsequent implementation remains yet another slap in the face of the Ghanaian people. Never in the history of our country has a government behaved so obstinately in imposing a draconian tax measure on its citizens, despite loud public outcry.
Government’s subsequent use of judicial shenanigans in an attempt to defend the illegal imposition of this E-levy remains yet another clear demonstration of how desperate and callous they are.
State Capture and land grabbing
THE ATTEMPT TO REINTRODUCE THE FRAUDULENT AGYAPA DEAL
Distinguished friends from the media, one of the cardinal, yet regrettable legacies of President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia remains the unprecedented levels of state capture we are witnessing today. The practice of state capture under this government has assumed such alarming proportions that the God-given resources of this country that are supposed to benefit present and future generations are being utilized by only a few greedy family, friends and cronies in government today.
One of the most bizarre, yet brazen display of state capture has manifested itself in the unpopular decision of this Government to Monetize our mineral resources in perpetuity under a fraudulent scheme dubbed “Agyapa” for the benefit of a select few.
It initially gladdened our hearts that the Ghanaian people spoke in unison against this organized heist called “Agyapa” and forced government to suspend same. We are however mortified to note that despite the public outcry over this deal, the NPP/Akufo-Addo government is headstrong and is seeking to reintroduce the “Agyapa” deal as recently announced by the Finance Minister. We wish to serve notice that this latest attempt to reintroduce the unpopular “Agyapa” Mineral Royalties deal shall be defeated, as we shall resist same with everything within us.
GRABBING OF ACHIMOTA FOREST RESERVE LANDS
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we daresay that you, like many Ghanaians, were surprised by recent reports of a certain E.I 144 which seeks to declassify portions of the Achimota Forest as no longer a Forest Reserve.
Well, as the saying goes, coming events cast their shadows, and indeed recent events have now given out the real motive and intent of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Government relative to this matter of the Achimota Forest Reserve. As we now know, President Akufo-Addo and his land grabbers in government were only hiding behind a certain historical claim by one Owoo Family to turn appropriate the Achimota Forest Reserve, a nature conservation of huge environmental importance to all of us, among themselves.
It has now emerged through some leaked portions of the Will of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, aka Sir John, a former CEO of the Forestry Commission, that elements within the Akudo-Addo/Bawumia Government have already shared lands in the Achimota Forest Reserve among themselves. Indeed, portions of the lands are contained in the leaked Will Document making the rounds. This is a tragedy of national proportions and we condemn it in no uncertain terms. To imagine that the Achimota Forest, one of the few surviving nature reserves in Ghana, would become another subject of the state capture of President Akufo-Addo and his cabal of buccaneers in Government breaks our hearts greatly.
Friends from the media, portions of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie’s Will reveals several prime lands, including those at the Achimota Forest and the Sakumono Ramsar Site that the late CEO of the Forest Commission acquired within a very short stint in Government, which he in turn willed to his relatives prior to his death. These revelations are but a microcosm of the scale and magnitude of grabbing and plundering of state lands and other resources by President Akufo-Addo and functionaries in his government in a manner akin to the conduct of pirates on the high sea.
Corruption and Abuse of the Public purse.
Distinguished friends from the media, corruption remains endemic and pervasive under President Akufo-Addo and Alhaji Bawumia who have turned themselves into the greatest enablers and promoters of same.
Despite being the most resourced government in Ghana’s history, this government has wasted all the unprecedented revenues that have accrued to them totaling about GHS500 billion mainly through profligacy and corruption.
At the risk of sounding monotonous, it bears reminding that corruption scandals such as the BOST scandal involving the illegal sale of five million liters of contaminated fuel to dubious entities, the Australian Visa Fraud Scandal, the Galamsey Fraud Scandal, the PPA Contracts for Sale scandal, the PDS scandal, the Missing Excavators scandal and the most recent Sputnik V Scandal remain unresolved instances of daylight heist that President Akufo-Addo has either turned a blind eye to or whitewashed the perpetrators.
All attempts to demand accountability for the use of Covid-19 funds continues to be suppressed by President Akufo-Addo who has effectively doused the flame of accountability. There is little wonder therefore that corruption is at an all-time high under this current regime.
Even more bizarre is the fact that at a time when majority of Ghanaians are suffering and experiencing excruciating hardships, President Akufo-Addo continues to travel in ultra-luxurious and hyper-expensive private jets at high expense to the already-impoverished Ghanaian taxpayer just to satisfy his creature comforts.
Distinguished friends from the media, our dear nation is on the verge of becoming a failed state. The center can no longer hold. Things are falling apart. It goes without saying that the current state of affairs calls for action. Every well-meaning Ghanaian is therefore duty-bound not only to speak against the ills of today, but also to act now in order to save the soul of our nation.
This is why we in Arise Ghana are saying to all conscientious Ghanaians to arise and “Save Ghana Now”!
1. We demand an immediate withdrawal of E.I 144 and an end to the land grabbing of the Achimota Forest Reserve lands. Caution is hereby served to President Akufo-Addo and his land grabbers to stay their hands off the Achimota Forest lands. We urge Parliament who are the representatives of the people to institute a bi-partisan probe into the matters relating to the sale of lands in the Achimota Forest immediately. This probe should be transparent and all persons, be they past or present government officials, civil or public servants, and all whose hands are soiled by this shameless grabbing of Achimota Forest lands should be named, shamed and the stolen Lands retrieved for the State.
2. We demand an immediate and total cancelation of the Agyapa Royalties deal as same is not in national interest. We will never sit aloof and allow a few selfish and greedy thieves in government to appropriate our mineral royalties for themselves and their families.
3. Also, we demand an immediate reduction in fuel prices through the scrapping of crippling fuel taxes such as the sanitation levy (“borla tax”) of 10 pesewas on every liter of diesel and petrol. We believe that this if done, will provide some respite to suffering drivers and Ghanaians as a whole.
4. Additionally, we demand the immediate repeal of the obnoxious E-levy Act, which is nothing but naked thievery of the meager resources of the citizenry by the wicked Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government.
In the light of the foregoing demands, “Arise Ghana” shall hold a Public Forum in the coming days to further expatiate on these important matters of considerable public interest.
More importantly, we wish to announce for the information of all Ghanaians, that we shall be embarking on a mammoth demonstration on the 21st of June 2022 in the city of Accra to press home these demands. We therefore call on all Ghanaians who desire to see a change in the affairs of our beloved country to come out in their numbers and join us on the streets of Accra for this historic protest.
This will be the first of a series of protest actions that we shall relentlessly be holding across the length and breadth of the country with the aim of bringing sufficient pressure to bear on the insensitive, corrupt and incompetent Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to act in the best interest of Ghanaians.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ghana needs to be saved now. And this must be done by you and I. We have had enough of the hardships government keeps inflicting on us; Enough of the broken promises; Enough of the naked thievery of state resources; Enough of the arrogance of power; Enough of the state-capture; Enough of the culture of impunity. We all have a role to play in the struggle to save the soul of our beloved country. The time to act is now!
May God bless our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong through your collective efforts.
Thank you for your attention ladies and gentlemen.
Comrade Mordecai Thiombiano- General Secretary, APC and leading Member of Arise Ghana (contact No.; 0279781055)
Comrade Duncan Amoah-Executive Secretary, COPEC Ghana and leading member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0243246570)
Comrade Bobie Ansah- Broadcast Journalist and Leading member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0243123620)
Comrade Mensah Thompson- Convener, ASEPA and leading member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0542120628)
Comrade Osei Kofi Acquah, National Youth Organzier, CPP and leading member of Arise Ghana (Contact no.; 0243388633)
Comrade Ishaq Awudu, Communications Director, PNC and leading Member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0244947573)
Comrade Kojo Gold, General Secretary, GUM and leading member of Arise Ghana (Contact no.; 0244782025)
Comrade Rex Omar- Musician and Leading Member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0556569304)
Dzramado Selorm Dramani- President, Unemployed Association and Leading Member of Arise Ghana (contact no.; 0241384810