The Judicial Service is fully prepared to handle every dispute that would arise from the emerging oil and gas industry, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, announced on Thursday.
She said the service was ready both in training and capacity building to support Ghanaians who may either take up business positions or make adversarial claims to objects ancillary to the oil and gas industry.
Chief Justice Wood made the announcement in a speech read on her behalf at the 50th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) organized in Accra under the theme: “50 Years of Promoting Industrial Peace for National Development.”
She said to build its capacity, the Judicial Service, in 2008, dispatched two judges, one from the superior court and the other from the circuit court, to the University of Dundee, United Kingdom, to undertake a Master of Laws programme in Petroleum Law and Policy.
“In addition to capacity building for judges, the Ghana School of Law will also be a direct beneficiary of the training acquired by the two judges”, she said.
Mrs. Wood announced that as soon as the legal year commence, the Judicial Training Institute would start capacity building programmes for judges in the catchment area of the oil and gas industry.
According to the Chief Justice, the introduction of the Alternative Dispute Resolution ought to give all parties the hope of a friendly solution to industrial disputes without acrimony.
“If the parties to industrial dispute must return to the workplace after litigation, a sense of lack of trust will begin to emerge and that will poison the hitherto harmonious relations”, the CJ said.
Mr. Charles Cofie, President of the GEA, called for the review of the 2003 National Labour Act (Act 651) to strengthen the Labour Commission to perform efficiently.
He urged the government to listen to the concerns at the labour front, especially those that border on implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure, in order to address them.
“GEA would like to urge that the concerns, expectations and grievances of public sector workers are managed well so as to avoid the potential for industrial action among sections of public sector workers”, he said.
Mr. Cofie urged government and labour to consider the principles of matching remuneration with productivity.
“GEA also wants government to ensure that this new pay policy does not disturb the macro-economic environment which is gradually and positively showing signs of stability.”
Speaking on investor confidence, Mr. Cofie noted that Ghana had performed creditably in terms of respect for rule of law, peace, security and safety and good governance, ingredients, he noted, that were key to attracting and sustaining investor confidence.
“Presently, it is Ghana alone in the sub-region that offers a combination of safety, peace, macro-economic stability, a pluralistic democracy and good governance that are key to economic growth”, he said.
“We can build upon this to attract investors to establish regional hubs and head offices in Ghana by guaranteeing them a positive experience for their corporate entities, families and for their employees.”
Mr. Cofie called for technical and vocational skills training as a way of strengthening local participation and ensuring long-term viability and sustainability of development efforts.