- Energy minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has said there is a strong resolve to introduce a strategy to fight the smuggling of gold out of Ghana
- Dr Prempeh has hinted at a policy to give a 20% gold reward to gold-smuggling whistleblowers
- He explained that the move was aimed at checking impediments to the government's novel gold-for-oil policy
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Energy Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has announced a new strategy to fight gold smuggling that impedes the progress of the gold-for-oil policy.
The gold-for-oil policy is an initiative by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia that involves the government paying for imported fuel products with gold pre-purchased by the Bank of Ghana.
In January this year, the first consignment of refined fuel products purchased under the new policy arrived at the Tema Port. They were then discharged into the receptacles of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), according to the government.
The vice president explained when he announced the policy last year that it is also another way to reduce excessive dependence on the dollar that depreciates the Ghana cedi.
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However, Dr Prempah has said the quantity of gold smuggled out of the country is so huge that if the smuggling continues, the policy could suffer.
“We’re saying anybody who gives a tipoff or tells us and identifies anybody smuggling gold and leads to an arrest, that person will get 20% of the gold. And I’m sure very soon they’ll come up. Because I believe that nobody makes 20% of this whole business, the person who is coming to buy the gold doesn’t make 20%," he was quoted in a Joy News report.
He said he was confident that the reward would curb the smuggling.
According to the report, the minister said the reward system for whistleblowers is currently a proposal, however, it is likely to be formalised soon.
At the start of this year, the Bank of Ghana assured the public that the country had enough gold reserves to sustain the gold-for-oil policy.
The central bank said Ghana has a sufficient quantity of gold bars to exchange for oil.
BoG gave the assurance after the government took delivery of the first consignment of the gold for oil deal.
Gold-for-oil policy could collapse Ghana’s downstream petroleum sector
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh has reported in a previous story that COPEC-GH's Duncan Amoah has asked the government to roll back on its Gold-for-Oil policy because of the imminent threat it poses to the country's petroleum sector.
He disclosed at a forum held at the British High Commission in Accra on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, that the policy could also increase the pump price of fuel by more than 50%.
He explained that fuel goes through only three channels to get to the pump, however, under the Gold-for-Oil the channels are at least five, presenting an opportunity for players at each stage to add their profit margins to the final price.
Duncan also explained that the different channels that the new Gold-for-Oil policy creates are a major disruption to the globally accepted system, a situation that could discourage IOCs from bringing their cargo to Ghana.
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