The former Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd), has urged the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to purge itself of the negative public perception about its operations.
According to Major Quarcoo, an image cleansing exercise should restore the waning public confidence in the country’s national oil company.
“National oil companies have an image problem and the GNPC has in the past performed in such a way that they have not courted public support and sympathy,” the former PIAC boss told Business Finder.
The likes of Brazil’s Petrobras and Angola’s Sonangol are in the news for the bad reasons because they have been given unfettered access to resources of the state.
Major Quarcoo made these observations on the sidelines of a technology salon on oil and gas organised by Penplusbytes in Accra.
The salon formed part of Penplusbytes’ elections project: “Amplifying Oil & Gas and Election Issues.”
The project aims at taking advantage of the unique opportunities presented during elections where politicians have more interactions with citizens; to promote oil and gas governance issues, to ensure the sector becomes part of electoral campaign discussions and by this, make oil and gas a headline campaign subject amongst those seeking office.
The former PIAC Chair noted that the public looks at GNPC as a wasteful organisation and it is unfortunate; what they should be doing is to realign and be seen to be doing the right things, “he said.
Beyond the fact that public opinion has over the years weighed heavily against the Oil Company due to some perceptions about its operations, the country’s major political parties with the exception of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have indicated their intentions to revise the operations of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) including the GNPC.
Sometime this year, some energy experts and political parties asked government to cut budgetary support to the GNPC the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Limited (BOST).
They contended that the persistent reliance of the non-performing state owned institutions on government subvention was a needless drain on Ghana’s economy which is itself in dire straits.
“The situation where we put GNPC on the national budget feeding it like a baby which never grows must cease,” demanded Dr Steve Manteaw of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas.
Dr Manteaw insisted that the Corporation must be taken off the national budget and made to fend for itself.
The GNPC, he recommended should be put on the Ghana Stock Exchange so that individual Ghanaians can become owners of their national oil company.
The problem with GNPC, Dr Manteaw pointed out had to do with excessive governmental control.
Major Quarcoo who saw nothing wrong with the Corporation’s sponsorship of he National team, the Black Stars, said since the Corporation was seen in the past to have gone outside its core functions, anything good that it commits itself to is seen in bad light.
“What I see they are doing is to build on the Black brand and align themselves to that brand; unfortunately it hasn’t quite worked but they need to be given credit for it,” the former PIAC Chair pointed out.