Ghana government urged to increase transparency in oil and gas sector
The Institute of Economic Affairs, (IEA), a public policy institute, on Wednesday urged government to increase transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.
Addressing a press conference in Accra to present the 2015 IEA’s Petroleum Transparency and Accountability (P-TRAC) Index project report, Prof John Asafu-Ajaye, a Visiting Fellow at IEA, called for the introduction of more legislation to increase transparency in the oil and gas sector.
He said even though there was improvement in the 2015 report regarding transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector as compared to the year 2012, there was the need for government to do more.
He therefore, recommended the speedy passage of the Right to Information Bill and the Petroleum Exploration and Production bill to enhance the level of transparency and accountability, to the oil and gas sector and other resource industries.
He also called for the passage of the Budget Act to enhance Parliament’s ability to conduct comprehensive analysis of the budget, as well as the passage of other bills such as the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Bill, the Local Content and Local Participation Bill and the Maritime Pollution Bill.
“To enhance transparency in the award of contracts and licenses, we recommend a more open and transparent process of awarding contracts and licenses, with more public disclosure of information about the process. In particular, we advocate a point-based system for assessing licenses and the award of contracts,” he said.
Prof Asafu-Ajaye also recommended the formation of a committee with representation from all major stakeholders to work with the Minister of Finance in selecting projects for funding under the Annual Budget Funding Amount.
He said oversight bodies such as Parliamentary Committees like the Public Accounts Committee and the Select Committee on Minerals and Energy, including the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, must be adequately resourced to enable them function more effectively in their respective roles.
The IEA P-TRAC Index project which started in 2011 monitors the transparency and accountability in the management of Ghana’s oil and gas resources.
The Index focuses on four key aspects of the management of oil and gas revenue such as Revenue Transparency, Expenditure Transparency, Contract Transparency and the Ghana Petroleum Funds.