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The draft Bill to effectively manage the oil and gas revenue from Ghana’s oil find is ready, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning will soon embark on road shows to solicit the inputs of Ghanaians and other players in the industry.

Energy Minister Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, who disclosed this at a three-day media workshop on Oil and Gas organised by the Canadian High Commission, in collaboration with Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), admonished Ghanaians who are supposed to be the ultimate beneficiaries of the emerging oil revenue to demand accountability and transparency from government.

This, he pointed out, will ensure that funds accrued from the industry would contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction. The workshop solicited contributions from Members of Parliament (MPs), anti-corruption agencies and civil society groups such as Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), Anti-Corruption Coalition, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on ‘how to get it right’ in the emerging oil and gas so that revenues from the industry are not profligately dissipated or looted by selfish individuals.

Speaking on the topic; ‘Good Governance & the Emerging Oil & Gas Industry’, the Energy Minister called for dedication from all the major stakeholders to support the process of building strong institutions and systems to manage the oil and gas resources.

Although there have been calls on Ghanaians to lower expectations, it has been widely expected that the development of the oil and gas industry, if well managed, will be a source of accelerated growth, job creation, poverty reduction and general prosperity of the people.

According to Dr. Oteng-Adjei, active involvement of Ghanaians in the oil and gas exploration, development, production and utilization through local content and participation, has become a major policy issue. Consequently, his ministry has developed a policy framework for local framework and participation in petroleum activities, which is currently being reviewed by stakeholders to ensure that Ghanaians obtain maximum benefits from the oil find.

Dr. Oteng-Adjei indicated that his ministry is also working on the amendment of existing petroleum legislations to ensure that Ghana provides an investor-friendly environment for domestic as well as International investors. The intended amendment of the legislations, he hinted, is aimed at creating a Petroleum Regulatory Authority (PRA) to oversee the industry’s operations.

Petroleum Exploration and Production Law, he stated, is being reviewed to make the process of getting exploration and production licenses less complicated in order to sustain the high level of interest in the country’s petroleum industry.

The Energy Minister added that government is keen to offer tax allowances and re-investment credits to maintain interest in the petroleum industry and to reward industry players for re-investing in the country and its people. Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Dr. Oteng-Adjei noted, is being strengthened to play a more active role in exploration and production of oil and gas in the country.

The ultimate objective, he stated, is to make GNPC a financially self-sufficient player in the oil industry that would have financial and technical capacity to explore and produce petroleum on its own. Appearing on ‘Time with David’ at the workshop, Samia Nkrumah, MP for Jomoro in the West Region and Prof. Joe Amoako-Tuffour of Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, entreated Ghanaians to tackle the issues of oil find from a non-partisan angle.

This, according to them, will allow the needed contributions that would assist in making Ghana benefit from the oil find and make it a blessing to all rather than a curse to a few. Samia Nkrumah, whose constituency is part of the catchment area of the oil and gas find, said “information and transparency must come to the level of the people” to make them understand the issues and the level expectations that they should have in the emerging oil revenue.
Source: Daily Guide

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