The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is challenging the Ghana government and its counterparts in Africa to as a matter of urgency review governance processes on oil and gas resources.
This in the Centre’s view is critical for the resources to generate the desired economic benefits.
Speaking with JOY BUSINESS at a press conference, ACEP’s Deputy Director Ben Boakye said governments on the continent should critically take a second look at accountability in particular.
He indicated that there are unacceptably high governance challenges in the management of petroleum contracts.
For him, there should be a lot more scrutiny on those entering the shores of Ghana and the rest of Africa to get oil blocks, to ensure that they don’t succeed in short-changing the continent.
Mr. Boakye expressed concern about how much governments are negotiating with oil producing companies, saying the development poses a problem for deriving the best from the resources.
He added that communities are so far not benefiting from the extraction of the resources.
“How do we even manage the little that we get and bridge the governance challenge to ensure that the extraction of the resources is linked to development” he asked.
Transparent and accountability in the processes governing oil resources is crucial in building not only the capacities of independent institutions that are supposed to engage in negotiating petroleum contracts for optimal share of the resources that are extracted but to ensure that communities are made to benefit from the resources.
The call follows a 2-day Africa Oil and Gas Summit where experts in the sector as well as civil society groups were assembled to deliberate on key issues plaguing the continent in respect of the management of it oil and gas resources.
The Center has to this end compiled a 7-point communique aimed at driving African leaders towards proper governance of oil resources on the continent.
Key among these recommendations are: African governments should optimise the benefits from oil and gas exploration through a combination of fiscal and non-fiscal reforms by stopping unnecessary tax concessions, applying optimal fiscal terms that match specific conditions pertaining to different blocks, and maximize local initiatives.