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Penplusbytes leads discussions on the oil factor in December Elections

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OilThe “Ghana Elections 2016 – Amplifying Oil, Gas and Elections issues” project has been launched in Takoradi to help heighten awareness and strengthen responsiveness to oil and gas governance concerns in the country.

Penplusbytes, with support from Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) and International IDEA, are rolling out the project that has been initiated in response to a need to ensure greater inclusion of Oil and Gas issues in the electoral discourse before, during and after Ghana’s general elections on December 7.

The launch, which attracted dignitaries including Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area, as the special guest of honour, also brought together a cross-section of key stakeholders which included civil society groups, local government representatives, journalists, economists, oil and gas experts, politicians and citizens interested in contributing to the prudent management of Ghana’s nascent oil and gas resources.

“Ghana Elections 2016: Amplifying Oil & Gas and Election Issues” project is premised on the fact that, since Ghana started producing oil in commercial quantities, the political discourse in the sector has been characterized by questions on how much money has accrued from the oil production; what has been done with revenues from the sector; and whether investments made with the oil revenues has yielded any value for the electorates.

Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, said under the project, Penplusbytes is expected to undertake a number of activities including online/social media platform set up and running a voters’ compass, media engagement, bursaries, editors’ liaison and political parties’ engagement.

“It is our aim to highlight issues which will transform the ideologies of the parties into tangible and actionable policies and proposals for the improvement of public scrutiny of Ghana’s extractive sector”, he said.

At the event, an online “Voters’ Policy Compass” platform built to allow potential voters to express anonymously their political opinions on a wide array of topics, was out-doored.

The platform would also allow voters to see which party or candidates was closer to them, and advise them on which candidate or party ideology tailors with the voters’.

Mr Ahiabenu II said though originally an online platform idea, the Voters’ Compass would be modified into a radio phone-in programme that would make room for citizens without online access to share their opinions.

There would also be a two-day editors’ liaison to further push the “oil and gas issues in elections” agenda in newsrooms during this election period and beyond.

The DFID-funded Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG) programme was established to help fill gaps in the management of the country’s oil and gas resources by improving the capacity of government agencies involved in the management of Ghana’s budding oil and gas sector, as well as engaging with a variety of accountability actors involved in improving public scrutiny for the sector.

This innovative five year governance programme is promoting inclusive economic growth in Ghana by improving the management of the country’s oil and gas resources.

Source: GNA

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