Mr Emmanuel Kofi Armah-Buah, a Deputy Minister of Energy, on Tuesday said Parliament had begun studying the National Local Content Policy aimed at improving Ghanaian participation in the operations of oil and gas companies in the country.
He said the policy stipulates that all regulatory authorities, contractors, sub-contractors and other entities involved in any project or transaction in the oil and gas industry, should consider Ghanaian companies and operators first in the award of contracts.
Mr Armah-Buah, was speaking at a forum on local content, organised on the theme: ‘Practical Initiatives for Promoting Local Content Development in the Power Utilities and Related Industries in Ghana- the Way Forward’’, by the Volta River Authority (VRA), in Accra.
It was attended by members of the Association of Ghana Industries, academia and other stakeholders to deliberate on how oil companies operating in the country would be able to involve more Ghanaians in their operations.
Mr Armah-Buah said the policy if implemented, would increase Ghanaian participation in the oil and gas industry by 90 per cent by 2020.
He said: “Where bids are being evaluated, and where bids are otherwise equal, the bid containing the high level of Ghanaian content shall be selected. This provision is strategically forward looking, and holds great promises for local operators”.
Mr Armah-Buah, who is also NDC Member of Parliament for Ellembelle, noted that gas and oil companies like Tullow Ghana Limited, Kosmos Energy, MODEC, Saipem and Oando had already taken steps to improve their local content capacity.
He commended the World Bank for voting $30 million in February this year, to support capacity development programes to improve Ghanaian participation in the oil and gas industry.
Mr Armah-Buah said under the policy, operators would be required to give priority to the purchase of local products and services from Ghanaian entrepreneurs, even if their prices were up by 10 per cent.
He lauded the VRA for achieving a 100 per cent local content workforce since its last expatriate Chief Executive left in 1966.
Mr Armah-Buah said: “I am happy to learn that you are working towards the provision of various goods and services, including the local manufacturing of equipment such as power distribution transformers, energy meters and other accessories”.
Mr Kweku Andoh Awortwe, Chief Executive Director of VRA, said the company since its establishment decades ago had spent over $1 billion on imported goods and machine components.
“In the last 50 years, VRA has dealt mainly with foreign contractors for the purchase of components for construction of the Akosombo Dam, Kpong Dam, and Takoradi Thermal Generating Plant. These involved large foreign companies with little or no involvement of local contractors”.
He announced that VRA had constituted a local content team to draft a policy document to develop strategies and put in place measures for the effective implementation of local content in VRA procurement process.