A few weeks into commercial production of oil, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), has raised the red flag over the uncertainty in the legal and institutional framework for the management of the oil revenue.
It said proposed laws such as the Ghana Petroleum Revenue Management Bill and the Petroleum Exploration Bill are likely to be rushed through Parliament without proper debate and scrutiny.
A statement issued by the union in Accra at the weekend, said while there is a strong belief that Ghana could avoid the challenges of other rich oil nations, the TUC said bucking the curse of oil would require more than a hopeful citizenry.
“It requires good laws and strong institutions. It requires a big push in transparency and constant oversight. Above all, it requires rules that create a legitimate and effective framework for the conduct of public policy,” it said.
The TUC welcomed the establishment of the Investment Management Committee to oversee oil revenue investment and management and the Petroleum Quantity Assessment Body and called for their independence and strong financial support.
However, it questioned why there was no representative of workers on the two committees.
The TUC is also worried that the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill in its current state gives too much discretion in many areas to the Finance Minister and has therefore called for the exercise of such discretion to be done in consultation with other stakeholders.
The union wants government to focus on job creation and to move away from inflation-targeting policy to employment creation.
The statement called for clear targets on employment creation on regional and district basis in the 2011 budget.