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25.10.2007 General News

Where Is AGC’s $478m

By Daily Guide
Where Is AGC’s $478m

An estimated amount of US$478million has been realized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning from the sale of AngloGold Ashanti shares in 1994.

However, while answering questions in Parliament, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, disclosed that “the money was not used for specific things.”

He was referring to the three batches known as the International Offer, The Ghanaian Offer and the Ghanaian Fixed Price Offer in which the previous government sold its shares in the then AGC to the public.

According to him, the International Offer mostly sold in European countries where 19.5 million shares were for sale at an offer price of US$20 per share, brought in total proceeds of US$390million.

The Ghanaian Offer, involving 3.2 million shares priced at US$20, amounted to US$64million while with the Ghanaian Fixed Price Offer, government yielded 1.2 million shares, also priced at US$20, and accumulated US$24million.

Professor Gyan-Baffour explained that “the proceeds were paid into the consolidated fund. It was used to fund a budget at the time and also used for national finance. As of now, I cannot know what it was used for, but it was in the consolidated fund.”

Responding to the MP for Sefwi-Wiawso, Mr. Aidoo Evans-Paul's question regarding affordable housing under the special housing scheme for cocoa farmers in the Western Region, Professor Gyan-Baffour stated that 10 housing units under the pilot phase would be completed by the middle of December this year.

“The government, through Ghana Cocoa Board, voted ¢5billion (GH¢500,000) as seed money for the Scheme, with an additional vote from the government of ¢10billion (GH¢1,000,000),” he explained, adding “to date, an amount of ¢1.696 billion (GH¢169,600) has been released for the construction of the 10 houses.”

He continued that “the remaining balance out of the initial seed money will be used for the second phase of 20 housing units; 10 each in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions early next year.”

Professor Gyan-Baffour, in an answer to a question from Mr. Alfred Kwame-Agbesi, MP for Ashaiman, regarding the population of foreigners registering with the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) to carry out local commercial distribution trade business, said only 286 foreigners registered.

The GIPC Board which currently endorses views and concerns that the current levels of foreign equity capital are too small with the minimum of US$300,000.00, recommended an amendment to the GIPC Act 478 to change the capital to the minimum of US$1million.

“This minimum equity capital has to be satisfied either by cash transfer or relevant capital goods only,” Professor Gyan-Baffour disclosed, adding “goods for resell or stock in trade will not be accepted.”

The increase in capital is also to reduce the inflow of foreigners with ready cash doing businesses in Ghana while also protecting and giving a fighting chance to Ghanaian businesses.

When asked by the other members if foreigners who already registered would pay that amount as well, Professor Gyan-Baffour stated that it was up to Parliament to decide.

However, the Board has made a recommendation to amend Section 39 of the GIPC Act to allow for this and other pertinent changes to be made.

By Wisdom Peter Awuku & Ethel Kangberee