Energy Minister, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, has tasked the newly-inaugurated seven-member board of the Petroleum Commission to help actualise the government’s quest to maximise local content participation in the oil and gas sector.
According to the minister, government’s policy intention is not only to be the recipient of direct revenues from petroleum operations but also to create value through local participation.
To this end, he has mandated the Board to ensure the finalisation of modalities for the establishment and management of the proposed Local Content Fund which is expected to provide financial resources for indigenous Ghanaian businesses operating in the sector.
The Local Content and the Local Participation Law LI 2204 were passed in 2013, following the approval of the Local Content Policy in 2010.
But Mr. Boakye Agyarko argues that in spite of the significant success chalked in its implementation, there still remain some challenges in achieving the full policy objectives of the government.
The establishment of the fund, pursuant to Section 64-68 of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, 2016 (Act 919), is therefore tipped to be the solution to the non-availability of sustainable resources for capacity building in each of the competence areas required of local actors in the industry and the development of the sector.
Mr. Boakye Agyarko indicated: “The key driver in the upstream petroleum sector is technical expertise and competence; as a nascent institution with a huge mandate to ensure efficient conduct of upstream petroleum operations, a highly competence personnel is required to regulate the industry.
The challenge is therefore for the board to build a highly technical human resource base that will ensure compliance with applicable laws and standards in the upstream industry.”
Another hurdle for the board to clear will be to address the myriad of conflicting regulations that, according to the minister, are creating unnecessary rigidities among sector institutions.
“This situation frustrates the industry players and also stifles foreign direct investment in the industry,” the minister emphasised.
The Petroleum Commission regulates and manages the exploitation of petroleum resources and to coordinate policies in relation to them.
Chairman of the board, Stephen Sekyere-Abankwah, assured of the highest level of cooperation among the team in the discharge of their functions.
He indicated: “We accept our new responsibility and would like to assure that we would do all it takes to live up to expectation.
We will work with the Energy Ministry to ensure quick implementation of policy decisions to achieve effective regulation and optimal development of the upstream petroleum sector for the benefit of Ghanaians as a whole.”