Ghana’s premiere gold marketing and jewellery manufacturing company, the Precious Minerals Marketing Company, PMMC, generated over GHC15.2 million in tax revenue to the government of Ghana in the first six months of 2020. PMMC has also paid off its entire foreign legacy debts of over $2.5m as of August 2019 although the cedi legacy debts continue to pose a major challenge to the company, a challenge which the Board and Management are determined to resolve. This solid performance has improved the financial and investment profile of PMMC, which had been losing revenue and ensconced in a cycle of bad management by previous administrations.
The fortunes of the company were turned onto a positive path in 2017 with the appointment of a new Board of Directors by President Nana Akufo-Addo, chaired by Hon. Kiston Akomeng Kissi, who took over and managed a near moribund company, saddled with huge debts and was struggling to pay staff salaries.
The main priority of the new Board of Directors therefore, was to find innovative solutions to reduce the financial liabilities of the company and find new streams of revenue to ensure that PMMC eventually becomes a profitable company. Other members of the Board included Hon. Kwadjo Opare-Hammond (Managing Director, now deceased), Nana Akwasi Awuah, a legal practitioner, Alhaji Musah Fuseini-Codjoe, Samuel Evans Ashong-Narh, Janet Emefa Obro-Adibo, Kofi Mensah Demitia (who became Ambassador to Togo) and Hon. Mavis Nkansah-Boadu, MP (now Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways).
Among the early initiatives the Board took was to assert its role as the National Assayer. By this, the Company was mandated to assay all gold leaving Ghana via export. As the National Assayer therefore, PMMC provides the Government of Ghana revenue assurance in terms of the volumes and values of gold exports. This initiative, while providing critical value for government, created a new revenue source for the company, thereby improving its financial situation.
In line with its role as National Assayer, PMMC also commenced active engagement with Ghana’s Central bank, the Bank of Ghana, to fashion out mechanisms and protocols for PMMC to act as the official Assayer in the Bank’s Domestic Gold Purchase Program (DGPP). This initiative came to full fruition in June 2021 when the Bank commenced implementation of the DGPP which has so far seen it purchase about 100kg of gold to shore up Ghana’s gold reserves.
It is no secret that Ghana’s gold trade industry can be chaotic and punctuated by many fraudulent schemes. Many unsuspecting businessmen have been sold many ounces of gold and diamond articles that have turned out to be fake on the open market. This causes a lot of investor anxiety and wanes business confidence in the precious minerals trade in Ghana.
The Board being concerned by this phenomenon took a decision to digitalize the National Assay Laboratory. The digitalization of the laboratory meant a shift from the handwritten Assay Certificates to printed ones with distinct security features, making it difficult for scammers to forge these certificates to pursue their fraudulent schemes in the gold trade. This has brought sanity within the industry and reduced the many incidents of fraud.
Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, has been a major producer and exporter of gold since the very early days when the Europeans set foot on the land of the Gold Coast. In recent times, Ghana was ranked as the largest producer of gold outranking South Africa. Despite these laurels, Ghana cannot boast of a functional gold refinery except for the abandoned dilapidated structure in Tarkwa where Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah attempted to establish one.
The Board therefore took a strategic investment decision to enter into a joint venture partnership to establish a gold refinery. Nana Akwasi Awuah, a Board Member, who as a result of his legal expertise was appointed to become the Board Secretary, was instrumental in finalizing a joint venture agreement for the establishment of Ghana’s first state-owned Gold Refinery. The refinery, which has a full daily capacity of 300 to 500 kg, is expected to commence operations by the end of 2021. In order to competently compete on the international market, the company is also pursuing the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) certification so that it can produce and sell Good Delivery Bars (refined gold).
The positive trajectory of PMMC has convinced His Excellency President Akufo-Addo to retain Hon Kiston Akomeng Kissi as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, a clear sign of confidence in his leadership. Hon. Kissi is a former Member of Parliament for the Akwatia Constituency and has been involved in the precious minerals industry for over three decades. However, Nana Akwasi Awuah, was elevated to become the new Managing Director, for his enterprising and innovative vision for a positive outlook for PMMC. The other Board members are Lawyer Komla Onny (who was also retained), Hon. Alhassan Abdallah Iddi, Mr. Benjamin Nii Ayi Aryee, Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante (also a lawyer), and Alhaji Amadu Kaleem.
A legal practitioner by profession, the new Managing Director, Nana Akwasi Awuah, has indicated his desire to collaborate with the Board to steer PMMC on a firm path to profitability. He indicated that all his actions will be geared towards addressing the backlog of challenges facing the company, particularly the legacy debt, through open and hands-on leadership to provide creative and innovative solutions to the company’s challenges.
According to the new Managing Director, the digitalization of PMMC’s Assay Laboratory, a project which was very important in his view, has increased the capacity of the company to modernize the assaying processes and to use the timely data at their disposal to provide avenues for state tax agencies in their monitoring and enforcement duties.
On his plans for revenue generation to add to the existing income sources, the new Managing Director, Nana Akwasi Awuah, indicated his resolve to pursue new business ideas relevant to the current global gold business climate.
Over all, with prudent business planning and management practices, the new PMMC leadership is bent on adopting better investment and sales strategies coupled with creative marketing techniques, with the ultimate goal of returning the company to profitability so that it can generate dividends for its sole shareholder, the Government of Ghana.