The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, commended President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for the successful implementation of the Gold for Oil Policy, hailing it as a pivotal strategy that stabilized the local currency and alleviated fuel costs.
Jinapor emphasized that the government’s decision to acquire crude oil without relying on dollars through this innovative approach had significantly curtailed the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi, playing a crucial role in bolstering the national economy.
In response to the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi in the last quarter of 2022, the government introduced the Gold for Oil Programme, utilizing gold produced within the country to purchase oil and alleviate pressure on the local currency.
Under this policy, large-scale mining companies were mandated to sell 20% of their refined gold to the Bank of Ghana, while small-scale mining companies were required to sell all their gold to the same institution.
Subsequently, it was revealed that the Gold for Oil Policy facilitated the purchase of over 800,000 metric tonnes of Gasoline and Gasoil, constituting almost 30% of Ghana’s total crude oil consumption.
During the presentation of the 2024 Budget to Parliament, the Finance Minister highlighted the positive impact of the policy, citing a reduction in the exchange rate from GHS17 to a dollar in November 2022 to GHS12 to a dollar in November 2023. Additionally, petrol prices decreased from GHS23 per litre to GHS12 per litre.
The Finance Minister further expressed the government’s intention to expand the Gold for Oil Programme to cover 50% of national consumption.
In a parliamentary session on November 23, 2023, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources praised the leadership skills of the President and Vice President, emphasizing that their bold choices during crises have positively influenced the economy.
The Minister highlighted the transformation of the Bank of Ghana’s reserves from insignificance to strength through the implementation of the Gold for Oil Programme and the Domestic Gold Purchase policy.
Samuel Abu Jinapor also discussed the government’s efforts to increase gold production to support the program and underscored the mining sector’s significant contribution to the economy, constituting nearly 9% of GDP.
He mentioned ongoing initiatives, including the development of new mines in the northern part of the country, the expansion of existing ones, and collaboration with mining companies for the overall development of mining areas, such as the construction of an airport at Bolgatanga.
Jinapor highlighted the mining lease for lithium exploitation, emphasizing its global standard with provisions for value addition, increased royalties, and local participation. The government’s investment in exploring green minerals like graphite, manganese, and bauxite was also emphasized to support the green energy transition.
Addressing allegations in the House, Jinapor refuted claims about the sale of UNESCO’s buildings, asserting that UNESCO currently occupies the premises. He clarified that the Clerk of Parliament’s official residence, alleged to have been sold in 2019, was actually sold in 2015. He cautioned against making sweeping statements about land sales without verifying information from the Lands Commission.
The parliamentary debate on the 2024 Budget, which began on November 21, 2023, is scheduled to conclude on November 28, 2023.