CSOs call for Inter-Party Advisory Committee on transparent use of natural resources

Representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Wednesday called for the establishment of a national Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to enhance transparency, judicious and optimal use of the nation’s natural resources.

In collaboration with representatives of political parties, government officials, religious groups and private businesses, they called on political parties, especially those in opposition, to build their capacity to provide alternative policies on a non-partisan perspective for national development.

They were contributing to a roundtable discussion organised by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) in Accra.

Though the Electoral Commission (EC) instituted IPAC in 1994 to improve the trust, confidence and working relationships between the Commission and registered political parties to enhance transparency in its operations, the CSOs is calling for the establishment of a committee to solely discuss transparent and judicious use of Ghana’s natural resources.

Dr Steve Manteaw, an Executive Director of ISODEC, said the roundtable discussion was to form a national consensus nicknamed “Social Pact” on effective utilisation and accountability of Ghana’s natural resources, particularly oil and gas.

It was also to discuss the role of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation in the petroleum sector, support for local business and local participation, linkages of petroleum sector to the rest of the economy and how to maintain and protect the non-oil sector as well as transparency and accountability issues in the mineral resource sector.

Mr Bishop Akolgo, an Executive Director of ISODEC advised government to initiate proactive measures to maximise benefits accruing from the nation’s resources.

“Ghana must move from rent collecting to using natural resources as catalyst to transform and diversify her economy,” he said and added that the entire citizenry needed to be involved.

Mr Akolgo challenged political parties to be more interested in and contribute to national issues cautioning that anything short of that could serve as a tool for a greedy multinational to exploit the country.

“We need to close our ranks to secure the national natural resources otherwise someone will use our differences to divide and exploit us,” he added.

Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman of the People’s National Convention, decried the situation where an incumbent government failed to continue the developmental projects of previous administration.

Mr Kwame Gyantuah, Spokesperson of Convention People’s Party on Energy, called for investment in education to build the capacity of Ghanaians to take advantage of opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

He observed that there were many business opportunities in the petrochemical industry and in the gas sector in particular, stressing that local content in the sector could be increased if the citizenry were made aware of opportunities and subsequently trained to prepare for the challenges.

Mr Gyantuah said “by-product of gas is not only about ammonium and fertilizers. Aerosols could be obtained from the gas industry and you can imagine the demand for aerosol in the world.”

Professor Akilapka Sawyer, Member of the Council of State, expressed hope that participants would make meaningful inputs to form a Social Pact that would look at developmental issues from a multi-party, non-partisan perspective.

“Though we expect it to be ambitious, it would be purposeful and worthwhile,’ he added.

Source: GNA

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