The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is organising a two-day International Policy Conference from 14thto 15th March, 2011 in Accra.
The conference dubbed: ‘‘Competitiveness and Diversification: Strategic Challenges in a Petroleum-Rich Economy,’’ aims at providing policy advice to Government on the need to put in place strong institutions as key pre-requisites to development and growth of the sector as well as recommendation for the diversification of the economy.
In her welcome address at the opening ceremony yesterday, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms. Hanna Tetteh, noted that the conference which brings Ministers, Policy Makers, Researchers among others, is designed to solicit ideas from participants on how African countries can address the management and diversification of their abundantly rich mineral resourced economies.
The timing of the conference, according to the Minister, is crucial for policy makers to come up with inputs that will enrich their policies to build a competitive and diversified economy.
Ms. Tetteh stated that the recent Draft Oil Management Bill which was passed by Parliament and awaiting Presidential assent intends to monitor the inflows and outflows of petroleum revenues and ensure transparency as well as accountability of oil resources.
Ms. Tetteh, therefore, commended the Country Director of UNIDO as well as the National Planning Committee for working assiduously to ensure the success of the conference.
The Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, in a remark said, wealth creation is an important issue that should be emphasised by stakeholders in the oil and gas industry in an attempt towards fighting poverty.
The Vice President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Trade, indicated that the theme of the conference reflects on the start of the commercial production of hydrocarbons from off-shore Ghana in the 4th quarter of 2010.
This, he added, will enable the policy-making community in Ghana have pragmatic policy options which are associated with the discovery of oil.
The Vice President emphasised that the conference will address some key policy challenges through discussions on issues such as resources, resource revenue, management for economic growth; structural stability and investment; collateral dynamics of oil and gas resources as well as industrial diversification in the face of resource export dependency.
Mr. Mahama wished all participants a fruitful deliberation and trusts that the sharing of experiences and knowledge will have long-lasting beneficial effects on the region.