The agreement signed between the Congolese government and the Ventora group of Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler is once again making headlines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The figures mentioned by the spokesman of the CNPAV, Jean-Claude Mputu are accused of false by other actors of civil society.
For Carbone Beni, a pro-democracy activist, the agreement signed between the DRC and Ventora has enabled significant progress.
“This agreement is not completely perfect, but has enabled significant and profitable progress for the State. Gertler, who was earning $6 million in royalties/month, is reduced to $2.5 million. It is utopian to pretend that he can pocket 2 billion or even 60 million in 10 months”, he says.
He claims that Gertler has earned less than $30 million in royalties since signing the deal, thanks to this deal. If not, it would be around 60 million USD.
“In reality, what he has been able to earn in terms of royalties since the signing of the agreement is less than $30 million. He could have earned $60 million if this agreement had not been signed. It is a important gain for the state. And the discussions must continue in favor of the state”, affirms Carbone Beni.
“Gertler is expected to collect almost $1.5 billion over 20 years. The agreement has reduced this to almost $600 million. The state has been able to recover all the mining and gas assets that Gertler owned in the DRC. These recovered assets have a value estimated at more than $2 billion.”
According to Carbone Beni, if this agreement was not signed, the DRC would continue to lose $120,000/day, because Gertler received the equivalent of $200,000. Today it is $80,000 after the settlement. “It is a considerable step in this affair which has seen the state lose for a long time,” he said.
Beyond the agreement, Carbone Beni calls on the presidency and the Sam Lukonde government to publish the annexes of the agreement to allow full transparency according to the standards of good governance and the EITI. He also considers it necessary for the government to continue in-depth discussions with the VENTORA Group to balance the advantages of the State with regard to royalties.
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