Between 29th and 22nd August, 2012 the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas undertook a nation-wide consultations on the governance regime for the country’s oil and gas industry, with a view to collating citizen’s feedback on the policies and laws so far passed and also facilitating their input unto understanding bills and draft regulations. The consultations were informed by the reports of three separate but related studies commissioned by the platform. These were: Analysis of the potential implementation challenges of the petroleum revenue management and petroleum commission laws; policy-legislation consistency; and challenges to achieving Ghana’s local content objectives.
The country was divided into three zones- northern, middle and southern belts for the purpose of the consultations, with each zone drawing participation from diverse sections of civil society, including NGO’s, community-based groups, trade and professional associations, representatives of organized labour, faith-based groups, traditional and local authorities.
The following are the key issues, challenges, gaps, and recommendations gathered from the consultations:
10. They called on the Ministry of Finance to ensure that , the impending regulations to the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 815, considered imposing a time frame for developing a long term National Development Plan against which petroleum revenue spending are to be aligned. Such long term Development Plan must prioritize the deployment of hydrocarbons as a catalyst for transforming and diversifying the national economy away from the country’s dependence on primary commodities;
11. The people demanded that the government took steps to incorporate the guiding principles enshrined in the ECOWAS directives on mining policy, and the African Mining Vision to which Ghana is a signatory into our national laws. Particularly, they demanded the strict observance of the principle of ‘Free, Prior, and Informed Consent’ of communities likely to be affected by actors in the petroleum sector;
12. Participants from the Western Region in particular wanted clarity on how frontline and adjoining oil districts and fisher folks would be compensated for the direct and indirect negative impacts of oil exploration and production, including pressures that are brought to bear on existing social infrastructure for the delivery of social services, as a result of increasing numbers of migrant workers into these Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assembly (MMDAs) areas;
13. Participants from the Western Region, again wanted the frontline oil districts to be supported to develop or revise their medium term development plans, incorporating into them an expectation and plans to seize opportunities that oil and gas exploration and production provide;
14. In the northern belt, participants wanted to be updated on the status of exploratory activities in the voltaic basin and the extent to which such activities are likely to impact on life and the environment.
In fulfillment of the longstanding commitment of the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas to take initiatives in our own spheres of operation, and in conjunction with all statutory bodies involved in the management of the country’s hydrocarbons towards forging a convergence of all divergent view points on how the industry is to be managed, we will welcome the opportunity to discuss these concerns with all the relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The consultations were made possible with the kind support of the World Bank