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Politics of Thursday, 16 May 2024



Mahama vows probe into gold-for-oil deal if elected president

John Dramani Mahama John Dramani Mahama

John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), pledges to launch an investigation into the government's gold-for-oil policy should he secure the presidency, citing concerns over its transparency and operational integrity.

Addressing participants at the 3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining held at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, Mahama emphasized the necessity of revisiting the gold-for-oil program.

"We will investigate the opaque gold for oil programme and expose the actors benefiting from this so-called barter agreement. Reports reaching me suggest that a new debt burden is being created because Ghana has not been able to keep up with its delivery of gold under the programme," Mahama stated.

The gold-for-oil initiative was unveiled by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia in 2022 as a strategy to bolster Ghana's dwindling foreign reserves amidst heightened demand for dollars by oil importers, contributing to currency devaluation and surging living costs.

Under the program, Ghana seeks to procure oil at competitive rates by trading gold, thereby alleviating pressure on the cedi, mitigating fuel price hikes, and rectifying balance of payment challenges.

Although by March 2023, over 60,000 ounces of gold worth $97 million had been acquired from local mines, the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) aims to secure a minimum of 160,000 ounces of gold monthly, valued at approximately $300 million, to cover half of the country's oil requirements per month.