Representatives of the four political parties that have representation in Parliament, have made a presentation of their various policy positions on Ghana’s oil and gas resources, with all expressing the need to properly manage the resources to the benefit of the citizenry.
The parties are the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), which was represented by Senior Policy advisor, Mr Kwame Jantuah; Dr William Ahadzie, Policy Advisor of the National Democratic Congress (NDC); Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Obuasi West; and Mr Bernard Mornah, Chairman of the Peoples National Congress (PNC).
At a forum organized by Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) in collaboration with the four parliamentary political parties, all the representatives, said that since oil and gas resources are exhaustible, it needs to be well managed by using the revenues accrued from the resources to develop other sectors of the national economy.
The launch created an opportunity for the political parties to present their responses to the current challenges in the oil and gas sector and how they would deal with such challenges when given the nod by the electorate
The Representatives also presented their main policy positions on institutional reform in the oil and gas sector, transparency and accountability, revenue management and fiscal sustainability.
Mr Jantauh of the CPP said if his Party got voted into power, it would restructure and strategize state participation in the management and operations of the extractive sector through the state owned enterprises (SOEs) while reviewing the current fiscal regime and policies to address the challenges relating to fiscal responsibility and prudent management of the economy.
He said the CPP would also ensure greater transparency and accountability as a prerequisite for good governance in the extractive sector as well as develop a long term national strategic framework for the management and governance of the natural resources sector.
Mr Ahadzie of NDC said his government would continue to abide by fiscal sustainability, ensuring that its commitment to expanding infrastructural development and other social investment does not lead to significant expenditure overruns that undermine its capacity to meet future commitments.
“The NDC’s energy policy specifically aimed to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy by providing low-cost and high quality energy inputs to industrial, mining and other sectors as well as for domestic use; improve social equity by addressing the energy requirements of the poor, and ensure protection of the environment by sustainable utilization of resources”.
Mr Mornah of the PNC said his Party’s policy on oil and gas was to well manage the sector and dedicate petroleum revenues to specific infrastructure projects instead of using them in debt payments and other consumptive expenditure.
He said the PNC plans to specifically dedicate 60 per cent of petroleum revenue earmarked for capital expenditure to the development of agriculture infrastructure.
“The PNC shall ensure that each agriculture-centred district has a determined quantum of funds to develop the relevant infrastructure”.
Mr Kwarteng of the NPP said if his Party is given the mandate, they would strengthen institutions responsible for managing the petroleum resources, such as the Ghana Petroleum Commission and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to play their roles efficiently.
He said the NPP would also ensure transparency and accountability in the operation of the sector, while sorting out the issues of beneficial ownership and developing the manufacturing sectors of the economy with petroleum revenues.
All the Policy Positions of the various Political Parties were also launched at the forum which was also attended by key national stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, civil society organisations, academia, think-tanks and donors.
Mr Adams Fusheini, Africa Parliamentary Capacity Development Officer of the NRGI said similar interactions would be held in Takoradi in the Western Region to allow the parties to discuss their positions with the citizens.