Ghana sets up enterprise centre to boost local content in oil sector
Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, on Thursday inaugurated Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in Takoradi.
In an address, he said the EDC is part of the core component of the local content and local participation in Petroleum Activities Policy of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.
Mr Buah said the policy has been translated into regulations in a Legislative Instrument (LI) which is receiving Executive and Parliamentary approval.
He said the LI sets clear targets for achieving local participation in various services in the petroleum value chain, taking carefully into consideration the level of complexity of these services.
Mr Buah said these laws and the targets alone cannot guarantee the achievement of local content dreams unless carefully planned mechanisms are in place to help achieve them.
He said Ghanaian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are capable of the competition and should, therefore, take full advantage of the EDC.
Mr Buah said it is projected that in the next five years about 20 billion dollars would be spent on the upstream sector of petroleum activities.
“Our goal is to ensure that Ghanaian SMEs will get a fair share of this investment, which is indeed will translate into transformation of Ghanaian business, job creation and overall expansion of the economy.
“This is the only way that the oil and gas discoveries can be a blessing to all,” he noted.
He said it is for this reason that the Government took the decision to establish an EDC in the Western Region to act as a focal point for coordination between the oil and gas companies and SMEs.
The centre would encourage international companies to establish offices in the region in order to utilise local goods and services.
He said the centre’s activities would not remain an enclave for the oil and gas sector but would open up opportunities for other sectors such as mining, aviation, petrochemical and the wider economy with the attendant linkage effects.
Mr Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said the EDC is consistent with the wider national strategy of strengthening the private sector and particularly local SMEs to grow on sustainable basis and to drive the viable development of the oil and gas industry.
He said the quantum of local content as well as the extent to which the local people can participate in the oil and gas sector is limited in respect to technology, management, finance, human resources and occupational health and safety standards.
He said it is, therefore, the responsibility of the centre to adequately and holistically empower the SMEs.
Mr Vanderpuye urged the centre to bring on board innovative training programmes to make it a place of excellence.
Mr Dai Jones, General Manager and President of Tullow Ghana who represented the Jubilee Partners, said the partners would be funding the project over the next five years at a cost of $ five million.
He expressed the hope that Ghanaian businessmen would take advantage of the centre to acquire excellent negotiation skills to enable them to be competitive in International business.
Mr Ebenezer Teye Addo, Regional Minister, advised the EDC to focus on its core mandate and offer courses and programmes that are relevant to the investment market at fees that are within reach of most of the up and coming firms.