A three day conference to discuss a proposed policy to promote the participation of Ghanaian companies and individuals in the oil and gas sector opened in Accra on Monday.
Organised by the Association of Ghana Industries, it was aimed at enhancing local participation of Ghanaians in the exploitation of the oil find.
Under the proposed ‘Domestic Content and Participation Policy,’ government is expected to give consideration first to Ghanaian independent operators in the award of oil blocks, oil field licenses, lifting licenses and all projects for which contract would be awarded in the oil sector.
It is also expected to ensure that all operators in the sector, as much as practicable, use goods and services produced in Ghana for their operations in preference to foreign goods and services.
The policy, when adopted, will also ensure that an operator or agent in the petroleum sub-sector shall ensure that opportunities for employment is given to Ghanaians who have the requisite expertise.
In order to give effect to the proposed local content and participation policy, government intends that the policy direction is legislated by regulations and other such legal instruments.
A dedicated petroleum regulatory agency, with the support of an independent National Local Content Committee, will be mandated to oversee the local content and participation policy.
In a speech read on his behalf to open the conference, Vice President John Mahama enumerated the preparations that have been made towards the first production of oil in the country.
He said "the government is determined to make the oil find a blessing and not a curse as it has been to some countries."
Mr. Mahama said "the government has decided to introduce the policy in order to give Ghanaians the opportunity to maximise benefits from the oil find."
He said the western rail corridor was seriously being considered for rehabilitation to facilitate the smooth operation of the oil and gas industry.
The Vice President stressed the need for prudent management of the oil resources and urged local companies to brace themselves up for the likely competition that would be faced from foreign companies.
The Minister of Trade and. Industry, Hannah Tetteh, commended the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) for organising the conference.
She said it was important for the country to develop that policy considering what oil find in some countries have brought in their trails.
She expressed the hope that the policy would help to reduce tension and attract international partners.