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Laws to ensure accountability in oil revenue attracts public attention

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Strong laws will stem corruption, enhance transparency and promote effective use of oil resources to enhance development.

These were the views of participants at a forum to solicit ideas on how the country’s petroleum resources could be used to spur growth.

They said legislations that makes it mandatory for oil companies to report and publish their production figures and what had accrued to government would ensure accurate assessment and maximise government’s revenue.

The participants included political party representatives, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, experts from academia, pupils and heads of government institutions.

The forum is part of a nationwide effort to solicit views from Ghanaians on laws on management of the oil revenue that would accrue after production begins in the last quarter of this year.

Government revenue from oil is expected to be about 800 million dollars on average per year between 2011 and 2029 based on the country producing 500 million barrels of oil.

Looking at the volumes of inflows, participants suggested the establishment of a regulatory authority to supervise and monitor the activities of the oil companies.

Mr Benjamin Asante, Lead Geophysics at Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, said Ghana now have five major fields with prospects of further discoveries.

He said the Jubilee Field, which had been developed and ready for production had about 800 million barrels with an upside potential of 1.5 billion barrels of light sweet crude oil.

About 280 million barrels of oil are expected to be produced at the Jubilee Field, during the first phase of production with daily production of 120,000 barrels.

The local content and participation would ensure that majority of Ghanaians are involved in the oil production activities.

Dr Joe Amoako-Tuffuor, Advisor to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the broad consultations were to ensure that Ghana derived maximum benefits from her oil.

He said the consultation was also to establish a revenue management law that is acceptable, ensure checks and balances and has sufficient safeguards for transparency and accountability.

Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said government would draw on the experiences of other oil rich countries, especially in the area of security and environmental management, to deal with any potential threat.

He said it was important that the expected revenue was used to enhance development to the benefit of the present and future generations.

Source: GNA

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