Workshop to design policy for Ghana’s oil industry held

oilThe Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), in collaboration with SINTEF, a Norwegian research institute, on Friday organized a workshop to design and implement policy instruments to enable Ghana to support local companies in the oil industry.

The workshop is also aimed at showcasing the Norwegian model of policy implementation in the oil industry in order to build the capacity of local companies to meet international standards.

Addressing participants in Accra, Mr Hakon Hynne, a Senior Researcher and Leader of the Norwegian delegates, said SINTEF had received three million euros from the Norwegian Research Agency for Development (NORAD) to fund a three-year project of capacity building in Ghana.

He said the workshop, also a collaboration of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), was to provide the Norwegian delegates a feedback into formulating a document for effective implementation of the three-year pilot project.

Mr Hynne said SINTEF and NTNU had successfully implemented such projects in many countries and expressed the hope that the project would help local companies operating in the oil industry to form clusters and cooperate in order to increase productivity and quality of service in the oil sector.

Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in a speech read on his behalf, observed that the major challenge facing Ghana was how the oil resources, discovered in commercial quantities, would be effectively developed and equitably managed to benefit the country as well as the local communities in the catchments area.

“Another challenge is the ability to ride on the exploitation and development of the crude oil to diversify the national economy and achieve industrial growth through the establishment of companies related to serving the oil industry,” he said.

Dr Salifu cautioned that the country needed to learn from the sad experiences from the timber, cocoa and mineral sectors where conflicts between people living in communities affected by operatives of such companies over expected concessions and other benefits existed.

“The issue of building institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks before the production of oil to ensure that the concerns of local industry, communities and people are mainstreamed into the oil industry right from the onset should not be left to providence,” he said.

Dr Salifu expressed the hope that Norway’s three-year project partnership it had formed with Ghana would help the country map out strategies that would minimize conflict and ensure fiscal responsibility in the oil sector.

Mr Edward Appiah-Brafo, Principal Human Resource and Administrative Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, called for inclusion of the public, local companies as well as government in the oil industry to transform the national economy as well as to reduce risk exposure in the oil sector.

“There should be Ghanaian participation in the procurement of imported goods, a good percentage of Ghanaian ownership and management in the oil companies. This is what local content is about,” he said.

Mr Kwasi Abeasi, Chief Executive of the Africa Investconsult Limited, said “one of the yardsticks with which we should measure our success in making the oil discovery a blessing should be the local content or involvement of our people not only in the activities in the industry but also the benefits accruing from the industry.”

Dr George Essegbey, Director of STEPRI, said the principle of equity and transparency should govern the distribution of wealth from the oil exploitation.

“We also need to build capacity for the roles we need to play in the oil industry. That way we can be sure the expected wealth would be created and accessed equitably,” he said.

Source: GNA

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