Government is well aware that organizations and individuals in Ghana have very high expectations of employment in the emerging oil and gas sector and is working assiduously to remove constraints regarding the requisite skills needed, the Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has affirmed.
According to him, the capacity of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the oil and gas sector have to be enhanced to enable them meet the stringent requirements which include management, financial controls, health and safety standards, as well as quality control, needed to do business with the international oil and gas companies.
Opening a one-day conference in Accra on Thursday ahead of the formal inauguration of an Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in the Western Region, the Minister said government recognizes that Ghanaian engineers and technicians, as demonstrated by their excellent and world-acknowledged management of the Akosombo plant, the VALCO plant and many others, have the aptitude and ability to run a world-class operation and to deliver first-class services when given the opportunity.
He said the government therefore believes that with the discovery of oil in the Jubilee field, ‘we must implement policy interventions that will enhance the opportunities for our technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs to increase their participation, roles and economic rewards from the activities of the oil and gas sector’.
“It is to this end that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and Ministry of Trade and Industry felt the need to establish an Enterprise Development Centre in the Western Region to provide support to SMEs to take advantage of business opportunities that are available in the oil and gas sector”, he said, adding that the Centre will involve providing a range of services such as capacity building programs, business training, advisory services and access to market and information and also act as the focal point for coordination between SMEs, oil and gas companies and their contractors and sub-contractors.
The Minister noted that the EDC Project is the result of months of discussions between the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Trade and Industry and the Jubilee Partners, aimed at ensuring maximum involvement of Ghanaian businesses and individuals in the oil and gas sector.
He commended the Jubilee Partners namely, Tullow Ghana Ltd, Kosmos, Anadarko, Petro SA and GNPC, who have agreed to fund the establishment of the Centre for a period of five years.
“Let me emphasise that the commencement of the EDC Project is a significant milestone towards achieving Ghana’s local content objectives. It is also a partial fulfilment of the promise made by H.E. the President of the Republic, Mr. John Dramani Mahama during the State of the Nation address when he declared that “an Enterprise Development Centre will be fully operational this year to facilitate the training of SMEs to be properly positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in the oil and gas industry”, he said.
Hon. Buah stated that the Ministry of Energy has already developed a policy on Local Content and Local Participation in Petroleum activities as the platform for achieving the goals for the oil and gas sector with participation by Ghanaian citizens in all roles, at all levels and in all activities relating to the oil and gas value chain.
He noted that SME development is crucial if the country’s local content policy goals are to be achieved, saying that it is a fact that no economy has grown sustainably without addressing the SME sector.
“This is because SME contribution to employment is huge and they put revenues directly into the hands of the communities. Countries such as Brazil realized this and have invested huge amounts of money to develop their local suppliers in the oil and gas sector”, he added.
He was confident that the establishment of this Centre will build the capacity of Ghanaian businesses to participate more actively and with greater success in the oil and gas industry, by becoming key suppliers of quality products and services, adding that that will undoubtedly lead to creation of jobs and achieve locally-based economic growth.
Source: Ministry of Energy