When the oil sector in Ghana and Uganda are well managed, the revenue generated would be major contributions to both economies, a Senior Geophysicist of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in Uganda, has said.
Mr Bernard Ongodia however warned of many dire consequences that might affect the two emerging economics should they ignore to take measures to manage the sector.
Addressing journalists at an ongoing training programme in oil and gas reporting being held in Kampala, Mr Ongodia said Uganda which discovered oil in 2006 had not started producing the product because it had taken time to put the necessary infrastructure and institutions as well as other mechanisms in place before embarking on production.
Ghana which discovered it oil finds in 2007 on the other, started the production before putting in place other major infrastructure and frameworks.
The 10-day training is being organised by Ghana based Penplusbyte, an International Institute of ICT Journalism in collaboration with the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI), also based in Uganda and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, UK.
Dr Peter Mwesige, Executive Director, RWI said the purpose of the training was to develop the capacity of the journalists to report effectively and consistently about the extractive industry, involving oil, gas and mining.
He explained that an active knowledgeable press plays a critical role in helping inform and engage the public, civil society groups as well as parliament and thus help them to hold governments and companies accountable.
He asked the journalists to well research into issues evolving the industry and report more accurately on them, adding, “journalists should pursue truth and serve as independent sources of information with fairness, accuracy and balance as their watchword”.
Mr Kwami Ahiabenu II, Executive Director, Penplusbytes said since journalists in emerging oil and gas economies lacked the needed knowledge and skills, it was important to train them so that they could effectively inform and educate their audiences in respective countries as well as help hold stakeholders accountable.
He said as part of the training, journalists would go on field trips to expose them to sources and possible stories they might not have had access to in the past.
Mr Nick Phythian of the Thomson Reuters Foundation stressed on the need for journalists to pay attention to details, data, facts and figures and interpret them more appropriately to their audience.