Member of the Council of State, Sam Okudzeto, has raised concerns about the lithium deal between the government of Ghana and Barari BV, asserting that it is not in the best interest of Ghanaians.
During an IEA roundtable discussion, Okudzeto urged citizens to voice their opposition to ensure that the deal is not ratified.
“This lithium agreement is not in the best interest of Ghana. That’s my view. And if you all agree with me, let’s all make a statement in support of the IEA to say that we do not think that this agreement is in the interest of Ghana and that we have to relook this matter,” Okudzeto emphasized.
Amid increasing public criticism, Okudzeto cautioned Members of Parliament, expressing the need for them to act in the best interest of the country. He refrained from outright condemnation but urged MPs to reconsider the deal.
The public’s discontent with the agreement revolves around concerns that it fails to adequately address Ghana’s long-term interests. Critics argue that the terms granted to Barari BV, including a low royalty rate and an extended exploration period, are overly generous.
In defense of the deal, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, asserted that it is the optimal choice for Ghana. He defended the agreement in an interview with Bloomberg, highlighting its benefits for the country and emphasizing that Ghana is retaining the highest end of the value chain.
“Green minerals, lithium, energy transition, and all of that, our president and his government have insisted that we treat these minerals differently from other minerals in the past,” Jinapor explained. He further outlined the government’s policy on the management, exploitation, and utilization of green minerals, including lithium.
Contrary to the public’s concerns, the government asserts that the deal offers favorable terms, with Ghana expected to receive 13 percent in royalties and hold a 30 percent stake in Atlantic Lithium. This, they argue, compares favorably to other mineral agreements.
As the debate intensifies, the diverging perspectives of critics like Okudzeto and government officials underscore the complexity of balancing economic interests with the long-term welfare of the nation. The outcome hinges on a delicate consideration of the deal’s intricacies and its potential impact on Ghana’s future.