GTUC urges government to review oil agreements
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday called on the government to review stability clauses in the oil agreements it had signed with International Oil Companies (IOC) to maximise benefits to the people.
In addition, government must desist from signing new contracts that contained stability clauses.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of TUC who made the call at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, said stability clauses were inimical to the proper management of oil resources hence the removal of such provisions in the contracts of many oil producing countries.
He said while advocates argued that such clauses attracted investors into the sector, experience from other countries had shown that such provisions were made prior to oil finds and not after oil had been discovered in commercial quantities.
“It is therefore worrying that our government is still signing agreements in which there are stability clauses with oil companies. Stability Clause does not serve the interest of the State,” he said.
Mr Asamoah said the TUC was worried over the seeming un-preparedness of the country to deal with challenges of the legal and institutional framework for the oil sector only some few weeks into the start of commercial oil production.
He said even if the relevant laws were passed by Parliament, now there was no guarantee that they would conform to the international best practices.
“We doubt the state of preparedness of our institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to confront the challenges associated within the industry,” Mr Asamoah said.
On prohibition of oil-backed loans, the TUC called for an entire prohibition of oil-backed loans across the oil and gas value chain and condemned the attempts being made to remove the clause that prohibited oil-backed loans in the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill.
“We wish to state in clear terms that we condemn such moves and we accordingly call for an entire prohibition of oil-backed loans across the oil and gas value chain,” he said.
The TUC, Mr Asamoah said, would resist attempts being made to remove the provision for Public Interest and Accountability Committee in the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, which would directly curb the full participation of the citizenry in the decisions that affected oil revenues.
The TUC also questioned the absence of an open and competitive bidding process for oil blocks and the lack of disclosure of petroleum agreements, saying it marred the transparency that government was seeking.
Mr Asamoah urged the government to ensure full participation of Ghanaians in the decision-making processes that affected the petroleum sector.
He called on government to establish independent and financially strong institutions, take steps through a consultative process to decide the role and nature of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and enhance capacity of the Ghana Revenue Authority in Petroleum Accounting for tax purposes.