The Centre For Economic Policy and Governance (CEPG) said on Wednesday that it was imperative the local content policy of the petroleum industry was well structured to reflect the reality of the sector for the country to reap its full benefits.
“The management of the oil revenue should contribute to all sectors of the economy, including significant employment generation, financing strategic infrastructure for the country and the investment market,” it said and added it was time the public was engaged in the local content to minimize their “heightened expectations”.
These were contained in a press statement issued to the GNA in Cape Coast and signed by the Director of CEPG, Mr. John Gatsi, a financial analyst.
It also suggested that the Government consider investing at least 30 percent of the funds in debt instruments in the Ghanaian financial market to deepen the debt market whilst it considers another local investment allocation to selected real assets in the Ghanaian economy.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning should liaise with Parliament to amend the relevant sections of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act 2011, (ACT 815) to give the Investment Advisory Committee the free-hand to evolve strategies that will diversify as well as stabilize petroleum funds for local investments, the statement added.
It said if the Social Security and Pension Funds which are largely managed by Ghanaian entities within the country was doing well, then part of the petroleum funds should be invested in Ghana for Ghanaians to manage it.
The statement lauded the Public Interest and Accountability Committee’s (PIAC) report that Ghana’s oil revenue had so far been managed prudently in accordance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, it still expects improved adherence to the principles of good governance.
It called for more projects to be allocated for the Western Region in the 2013 budget to speed infrastructural development in the Region whilst the government and companies operating in the industry should design a focused strategy to equip training institutions in the country to train people to acquire the expertise to manage the industry.
It described as “unacceptable” the £14,000 spent on the training of one Ghanaian abroad when the same training could be done locally at a reduced cost and stressed the need for packages to enable more people to be trained home.
“We are of the belief that if international oil companies (IOCs) and the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) which is the national oil company, are listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, it will deepen market but this cannot be a substitute for actual participation of Ghanaian,” the statement said.
Birim Central Municipal builds lockable market stores
The Birim Central Municipal Assembly has started the construction of 144 lockable market stores at the new Akyem Oda Lorry Park on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis to cater for the ever increasing trader population.
Ms Ophelia Koomson, the Birim Central Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who announced this at a general assembly meeting at Akyem Oda on Tuesday, said some of the structures are at the foundation level, while a few are just starting.
She however expressed worry about litigation by a few traders in some of the areas marked for the construction of the market stores, thus delaying the take-off of some of the sub-projects.
Ms Koomson called for support to enable the project to be completed on time enable the assembly to increase its revenue base.
She mentioned projects being executed under the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) as rehabilitation of the Akyem Oda Lorry Park, construction of lecture hall at Akyem Oda Community Nursing Training School and procurement of 15-seat bus and 15 KVA generator.
On District Development Fund (DDF) projects, the MCE mentioned them as construction of toot bridges at Mandelina and Morning Star.
Ms Koomson said the construction of a Foot bridge at Akyem Oda Old Town was 80 percent complete while the construction of market stalls at Eshiem, Bantama, Osenho and Yaw Donkor were 100 percent complete.