Forum on Ghana oil and gas worries over abysmal policies on extractive sector

Participants at a forum on the Engendering Legislative Frameworks for Ghana’s emerging oil sector have expressed worry about the abysmal policy regulatory frameworks in the management of extractive resources of the country over the years.

They said the situation had resulted in poor development as well as inequities among sections of the population with respect to the distribution of income, resources and capital assets generated from the “booms”.

According to them whiles all segments of the population had often been negatively affected by the mismanagement of those extractive resources, vulnerable groups, particularly women had been worst hit by the poor management and governance of the resources.

They have therefore appealed to Parliament to ensure that any bill that would be passed concerning the emerging oil find should favour such vulnerable groups, especially women.

The concerns were raised at the Eastern Regional forum on the gender dimensions of the Legislative Frameworks for Ghana’s emerging oil and gas sector in Koforidua, at the weekend.

The forum, which was organized by the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), was attended by more than 200 activists from all the 21 Districts in the Region.

Addressing the forum, the Programme Officer of NETRIGHT, Ms Patricia Blankson Akakpo, said now that the various Oil Revenue Management Bills were before the Parliament, current challenges in the mining sector should serve as a caution to the state.

She mentioned some of the challenges to include weak existing legislation for the oversight of mining activities, weak capacity of local mining communities to effectively use mineral wealth for poverty reduction and insensitivity of policy initiatives to the special circumstances of the poor and vulnerable, of whom majority were women.

She said the above lessons provided justification for concerns in recent policy platforms that the emerging oil and gas sector might not cater for the special circumstances of the poor and vulnerable in the Ghanaian society, particularly women.

Ms Akakpo said the mining industry in Ghana was a good example of an exclusive masculine enclave and compared to the other sectors women participate in and therefore urged the oil companies to employ more women.

The Eastern Regional Focal Person of NETRIGHT, Madam Francisca Borkor Bortey, said the group was a coalition of organizations and individuals, who are working together to promote the gender dimension of national policies and processes and advocate for policy change.

She said NETRIGHT work was based on three core functions, which include movement building, economic justice and land rights.

Madam Bortey said those core functions were carried through outreach programmes, public education, advocacy, information sharing, research, publications networking and alliance building.

Source: GNA

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