The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has outlined its policy position on managing the country’s oil and gas resources through improved access to information to boost transparency and competitive bidding of oil blocks.
The party’s energy policy aims to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy through provision of low-cost but high-quality energy inputs to ensure industrial and domestic use while safeguarding sustainable environment.
Commenting on the policy paper, Dr Kwame Ampofo, the Chairman of the Energy Commission, told the Ghana News Agency that the policy promised greater transparency, accountability, monitoring and evaluation to shore up and better manage oil revenues towards improved living conditions.
He said the element of verification and the linkage of oil and gas management to the Right to Information (RTI) bill which had been fused into the party’s policy document made the policy unique.
“I think additional elements are the issues of verification, the stakeholders must be able to verify what the administrators of the sector [oil and gas] are doing, so we are going to ensure certain legislations are passed to enhance monitoring, evaluation and establishment of accountability,” he said.
“For the oil and gas sector to be properly managed, you need to have transparency, you need to have accountability and you have to have free access to information,” he said.
Dr Ampofo, who is also the former Member of Parliament for South Dayi, said though the passage of the RTI bill into law was in the domain of Parliament and the Executive, the policy could push for the speedy passage of the bill to add to records of numerous laws passed.
Dr Ampofo said oil block allocation was also critical and that the current law vested too much powers to the sector minister which did not promote competitive bidding and transparency.
He said the NDC’s position paper would seek to minimise such powers and open oil block allocation to open competitive bidding to raise more revenue and encourage judicious use of resources.
Four political parties – the National Democratic Congress, New Patriotic Party, Convention People’s Party and People’s National Convention – stated their policy positions on oil and gas last week at a joint forum.
The forum was facilitated by the Natural Resource Governance Institute and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance to give political parties opportunity to articulate their new policy positions on oil and gas management.
The policy positions covered adoption of non-partisan approach to the appointment of board members, the need for legislation on contractual disclosure, the role of National Commission for Civic Education in educating the public on oil and gas legislations, and the role of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.