Ghana formulates local content policy on oil and gas
Published 11th November 2010 - 0 comments - 1264 views -
Ghana stands the chance of becoming energy hub in the gulf of Guinea if comprehensive strategies and policies are formulated to safeguard oil and gas exploitation. The Executive Director of Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Bishop Akologo who said this in an interview with the Enquirer in Tamale said the local content policies on oil and gas are urgently needed to ensure effective local participation in oil and gas exploration.
This, he said would give Ghanaians fair representation oil deal including exploration and marketing.
Mr. Akologo who led a day’s regional consultative forum on oil and gas organised by ISODEC in collaboration with Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) held in Tamale said with the oil find, Ghana is in threshold to be an energy hub in the whole of the Gulf of Guinea. The country he observed is also likely to achieve middle income status by 2015 if the proceeds of the oil and gas are properly utilized to benefit Ghanaians.
The forum was part of series of consultative oil and gas fora aimed to collate views and opinions from Ghanaian nationals to help formulate oil and gas policies and programmes that would allow Ghanaians to own and benefit the chunk of oil proceeds.
It was also to seek views on how to formulate oil policies that would take onboard Ghanaians in all sectors of exploration and marketing, training and technology transfer.
Mr. Akologo explained that it is only when the local participation is effective that Ghana stands the chance of benefiting from the oil and gas extraction and that there was the need to protect the interest of Ghanaians through stringent oil and gas, and environmental laws and local ownership.
Mr. Akologo said until the government provides an enabling environment and opportunities for Ghanaians to benefit from the economic wealth that emanates from the activities in the oil and gas industry through participation and ownership, operations and control and management, the country’s fortunes would not be improved as expected.
He warned the leadership of the country against mismanagement and misappropriation of the proceeds of oil and gas saying failure of the government to provide opportunities for the citizens would provoke them to take the laws into their hands as happened in other countries.
“There is the need for fair and equal distribution of oil wealth among the citizens and failure to do so will provoke the people who will found other means of getting what they expected or wanted”, he said.
According to him, Ghana could achieve the middle income status pretty soon if policies and programmes on oil and gas are strengthened. He also suggested the formulation of policies and programmes which could be integrated into the school curricula to help build strong and quality human resources for oil sector. This, he said would help boost the local economy and improve living conditions of the people. Mr. Akologo urged the government to go back to the drawing board and adopt policies that would enable training of economists, and technocrats to help push the nation forwards.
The national coordinator of Civil Society on oil and gas, Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam expressed his reservation on the draft policy framework on Ghana petroleum revenue management saying the policy has vested more powers to the minister of finance and is likely to be abused. He suggested the constitution of independent body to manage the revenue to avoid the system where the money is given to party cronies. The participants who were drawn from civil society organisations from Upper East, West and Northern region feared the oil and gas exploration might spark social unrest in Ghana and should be managed with care.
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