……..to deepen good governance in oil and gas sector.
BY Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor
The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) have received a ?500,000 Pounds sterling contract over a five year period from the Department for International Development (DFID) to implement projects on oil and gas governance.
The new contract, forms part of a partnership agreement between President Mahama and David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom during a G8 summit in London on the Natural Resources Charter.
Specifically, the agreement will include an implementation of oil and gas projects to help Ghana improve its framework in the oil and gas sector.
The new contract given ACEP is an UKAID formerly approved by DFID ministers and G8 leaders will constitute monitoring on key thematic areas in Ghana.
Therefore DFID will collaborate with the Government of Ghana, Energy and Petroleum Ministry, Petroleum Commission (PC), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, which will require strict monitoring and pressure by ACEP and Revenue Watch for the government agencies to deliver efficiently.
The project is build on the Natural Resources Charter to provide an effective regulation of the petroleum resources in Ghana.
This will also include a resources collection and taxation to ensure that resources and revenues collected are well managed.
However, ACEP is awarded a five year contract to develop a contract database for petroleum contracts within Ghana and in other West African countries which engages in oil exploration and production.
ACEP which has consistently put governements on it’s toes is more importantly expected to issuing specialized monitoring and policy reports on oil governance, revenue management, mobilising citizens views in advocacy.
The contract will involve training and capacity building of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who lacks the reasonable understanding on oil and gas.
Mohammed Amin Adams, Executive Director of ACEP said the formal relationship between ACEP and DFID is a step in the right direction.
He noted the significant about these projects is not the financial support given by DFID to implement those projects in particular but most suitably the project has an inbuilt organizational development support.
According Mr. Adam, the main challenge of most NGOs and tink-tanks in the developing world is usually lack of capacity and uncoordinated management, poor organisational skills and usually without structures that governs the relationship within the organizations.
The Executive Director however explained that the inbuilt component will deepens ?ACEP capacity and to help them put in place the necessary governance structures, reporters structures, ethical standards, strategic planning to promote a transparent and accountable governance in the oil and gas sector.
He indicated although the ?500,000 Pounds Sterling over five years period is not huge marked by their standards however, ACEP have accepted the deal because the contract forms the beginning of a formal relationship with DFID.
Jens-Peter Dyrbak, Senior Governance Adviser & Team Leader of Good Governance Team, DFID after signing the first contract agreement with ACEP is also bringing on board Revenue Watch as a conduit for PIAC to achieve good results.
He said there could be potential for others but initially ACEP and Revenue Watch are the major partners based on their performance in ensuring transparency and accountability in the oil and gas governance.
The project will seek to address the issue of transparency and accountability in the oil industry and generally how to translate the oil wealth into other development projects in the country.