Government has been urged to exploit job creation opportunities which abound in the local content provisions of both the mining and oil and gas sectors.
Executive Director for the Centre for Extractives and Development Africa (CEDA), Mr Emmanuel Kuyole says there are several job openings for Ghanaians in key sectors of the economy.
Speaking to journalists at a seminar to review the implementation of the local content regulations on Wednesday, Mr Kuyole charged government to identify areas within the mining, oil and gas sectors were jobs could easily be created.
The one-day event was under the auspices of the Natural Resource and Governance Institute (NRGI) and CEDA.
Having put in place the pieces of legislation and regulation for the local content, the seminar is a technical review of how the implementation has gone.
There have been concerns about the weak integration of Ghana’s mining sector with the rest of the economy. This has largely been due to weak local content in mineral production. To address the problem, the minerals and mining regulations were promulgated in 2012 and have been under implementation since then.
Experts who justify the emphasis on local content maintain that it represents a shift in policy from taxes as benefits from mining to more practical ways of integrating mining with the rest of economy.
“We need to ensure that the extractive sector is just not revenues and taxes but that the sector is leveraged upon to improve upon the economic development, to create jobs and so become one of the levers for pushing government’s industrialisation agenda,” Mr Kuyole stated.
He pointed out further that “the only way we can achieve our industrialisation agenda is to have a strong local content and value creation strategy.”
“There is the need to gradually shift government’s focus from relying on taxes to local content so that goods and services that are required are provided and also local Ghanaian participation is ensured. Then we will be creating jobs.”
Beyond that, with regard to value addition, government is able to tax the local companies for the much-needed revenue.
Boost for ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative
According to Mr Kuyole, for government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ programme, there are areas in the mining sector where “we can find low hanging fruits in the extractive sector.”
He pointed out that there are goods and services that the mining companies procure on yearly basis, so government should take advantage of such opportunities to create jobs for the masses.
Further, in the mining sector, there are regulations on some items and services that all mining firms are required to procure locally, and so over the past years government could be checking how many of the firms are sourcing their services from Ghana.
“If they do so, how many indigenous companies have the capacity to supply those goods and services to the mining firms?” he asked.