The Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) programme has been launched to help ensure that the oil and gas sector promotes inclusive growth.
GOGIG would support the institutions which manage the country’s oil resources to deliver on effective public policy through strengthening regulation of the sector and improving revenue capture to maximise the direct benefits from the oil and gas sector.
Other objectives include improving revenue management to ensure transparency and avoid adverse macro-economic consequences associated with natural resources windfall gains and enhancing sector oversight to hold government accountable.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner, said even with low oil prices, there are opportunities for inclusive growth from natural resources.
He said a casual look at oil-rich countries around the world showed that just having oil is no basis for sustained, inclusive growth.
Mr Benjamin said the lack of transparency meant that countries often do not benefit as much as they should from their natural resources to fund development and fight poverty.
“Transparency helps, but it is not much use without a well-informed civil society which is a key support to greater accountability for policy decisions, contract awards, and the use to which revenue from oil is put,” he said.
He called on civil society to ask the difficult questions about the governance of the natural resources, such as award of contracts and the lifestyle of officials tasked with the management of the natural resources.
He said while laws are important they are not enough when left unimplemented.
“And laws on their own are not enough: if they are enacted but never implemented, or flouted and ignored with impunity, they might as well have never happened,” he said.
Mr Benjamin said just as accountability is critical for good governance, it is equally vital that government is supported in its efforts to complete the policy framework, with the contributions to capacity-building it needs to do a good job on behalf of the people.
He said the objectives of GOGIG that include strengthened regulation; improved revenue capture; improved revenue management and enhanced sector oversight are tough but critical for making the most of oil and gas.
“We believe that the financial resources the UK has committed to support Ghana through the work of GOGIG – on behalf of British taxpayers – constitute an investment in the future of Ghana, and in a better future for Ghana.”
He said the return on the investment hinges on the efforts of GOGIG, but more on the clear commitment of the government to make the most of oil and gas, and on the strength of the people of Ghana in holding the government to account to ensure that the country’s natural resources secure the greatest possible social and economic benefit for all its people.
Ms Adelaide Addo-Fening, Team Leader GOGIG, said the programme is designed to support the development of technical capability within government, and also to support the improved accountability which is necessary to provide incentives for institutions to sustain good governance.
“We work in a very responsive manner so the partnership with the state institutions is very key so some of those state institutions are the Ghana Revenue Authority, Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance and what our role is to sit with them for discussion to understand their capacity requirement, to understand which priorities that GOGIG is best close to support them with and our support,” she said.
In 2013 a partnership was struck between the G-8 group of countries and 15 resource-rich countries, which brought Ghana and the UK together with a shared purpose of fighting poverty on the opportunities from natural resources.
The UK has committed GBP27 million to two programmes in Ghana as part of its contribution to the partnership. The programmes are GOGIG and the Western Region Coastal Foundation.