A renowned Ghanaian economist, Mr Kwame Pianim, has stated that the quest to make Ghana’s oil a platform for economic transformation and avoid the resource curse, is to ensure a judicious use of the oil proceeds.
He said the tools outlined in the Petroleum Revenue Management and the Petroleum Commission laws, clearly spelt out conditions upon which the oil proceeds would serve as a blessing to Ghana, including the involvement of local content policy and participation.
Mr Pianim said this Thursday at the third Graphic Business Forum organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra.
He was making a presentation on the theme “Leveraging ICT and Oil & Gas Resources to Accelerate Ghana’s Economic Development,” during the second session of the forum, the focus of which was on oil and gas. The forum which attracted high-profile participants including seasoned economists, bankers, politicians and captains of industry, was aimed at exposing the business community to the various opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
Mr Pianim who was the main speaker on the topic, recalled that at the inauguration of the Petroleum Commission (PC) in November 2011, the Minister of Energy underscored the strategic importance attached to local content, adding that the law mandated the PC to promote local content and local participation in petroleum activities as prescribed in the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law.
He defined Local Content as contained in Act 821 as the use of Ghanaian human and material resources, services and businesses for the systemic development of national capacity and capability for the enhancement of the Ghanaian economy.
The definition, he observed, mandates the PC to look beyond the petroleum industry and discern opportunities for linkages for transformational development.
Mr Pianim, who is also the Board Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (Ghana), listed environmental safety and health standards, using up-to-date technology to minimise costs and improve recovery and encouraging sustainable development through exploration, as some of the ingredients of international practice.
He explained that the Petroleum Revenue Management law, mandates the prudent use of oil proceeds and the setting up of the Petroleum Holding Fund into which were to be paid revenues from direct and indirect participation by the Government of Ghana.
He expressed the belief that upgrading the capacity of local banks and financial institutions to fund the oil industry and co-manage the petroleum funds, was critical for the local content policy the government was pursuing.
Mr Pianim stressed the need for editors of media houses to be certified and for journalists to specialise in specific areas, rather than the current situation where reporters held themselves as masters in every field.
The Chairman for the session, Dr Robert Adjaye, who is also the Rector of Petroleum Skills Development Institute, an oil and gas training institution, urged the government to use the oil proceeds to develop the oil and gas infrastructure in Ghana.