Honorary Executive for Imani Africa, Bright Simons has tagged the current NPP government as the least concerned about Civil Society Organisations, CSOs engagement in the country.
According to him, since interactions between government and CSOs have reached its zenith the NPP government has shown little engagement in this regard.
“In order to have an effective discussion to have a platform like the CSOs…we felt that is was quite unfair for the government to suggest that not engaging the CSOs was the right course to pursue, I must also emphasise that since we’ve reached the Zenith of government and CSOs interaction management in this country, I will say this government is the one that has seen the least need to engage with CSOs comprehensively and holistically when it comes to policymaking.”
“You never seen CSOs consistently come together to oppose government policy as we have seen in this administration and the reason is simply the government does not think it needs the input of CSOs at all..”
Speaking on Joy FM’s ‘NewsFile’ on the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal, he said the attempt by the Minister for Information to rubbish their call for the suspension of the deal is unfortunate.
He said trying to suggest that the CSOs are not relevant in the discussion of which they are providing information for Ghanaians to make an informed decision is naive.
“…we heard some comment from the Minister of Information which seems to suggest that CSOs are not very relevant in this discussion well this was not his exact words but you could construe some of his comments to mean that. When you look at this transaction you will realise that 300 pages of documents…on the key terms and provision, to suggest that ordinary citizens who are going about their business and are busy with the day to day management of their lives will be reading these documents to make an informed democratic view of whether the support the government point or not is completely naive.”
Responding to the statement of the Finance Minister that he has discounted their letter on the basis of some of the words they use to describe the deal, elite capture, he said it unrealistic for them to expect Ghanaians to have the time to read the 300-page document.
“Discounting the letter means he regards the letter as irrelevant, the point of the matter is that you have more than 300pages of the document and to expect that an ordinary citizen will go through the document and make an inform position of whether or not they support the government is completely unrealistic.”
Bright Simons said their duty is to offer an “objective and dispassionate perspective that can help ordinary citizens to come to a conclusion that is informed.”
He believes that currently, the CSOs that have called for the suspension of the deal are the most informed groups on this deal.
“For those specific CSOs who have come out to oppose this agreement in its current form, yes we have looked at every single document, we have even gone further to look at some of the advice that has been…we have done extensive benchmarking using data that is available in other countries. I will say that on the account of simply share fact we are the most informed segment of the society as at this point to help the public come to term with what is fairly unelaborate agreement that the government has decided to pursue.”
“We have two entities that are already existing Agyapa Royalties Ghana and Agyapa Royalties which government purportedly owns 100%, the concern that has been raised is that there were claims being made that there were already nominee positions being held by the government on behalf of some investors, we can validate that now for sure but we thought it to be useful for the government to dispel those rumours..”