Mr Mohammed Awal, a Researcher at the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD) has tasked electorates in and around fishing communities in the Western Region to hold their Members of Parliament (MP) to fulfill their promises on oil, gas and fisheries.
He suggested to them to use town hall meetings and other fora to enable the MPs to render accounts of how they would fulfil their campaign promises to them.
Mr Awal said this at the end of a zonal workshop at Shama, on “Post -Election Accountability Monitoring of successful parliamentary candidates’ election 2016 campaign promises on oil and gas sector in the western region”.
The series of workshops held in Axim, Esiama and Shama all in the Western Region were organised by CDD in partnership with Friends of Nation (FON) and sponsored by the Ghana oil and gas for inclusive Growth (GOGIG), UKaid and Oxfam, as part of CDD Ghana’s election 2016 project aimed at promoting issue- based election campaign and post-election accountability.
The workshops attended by Community Based Organisations, Traditional Authorities, the Clergy, youth groups and assembly members was to share the post-election accountability matrix for monitoring the fulfilment of the election 2016 campaign promises on oil and gas sector and on how citizens could mobilise to demand accountability and responsiveness in between elections.
Per the CDD election 2016 project, MP in the Nzema East, Ellembelle and Shama constituencies during their campaigns among others, promised to strengthen and enforce the Fisheries Act 2002 (Act 625), establish coastal guard unit that would operate under the Ghana Navy, establish outboard assembling plants, scrap import duties on fishing inputs, establish coastal development fund to support fisherman through the provision of alternative livelihood Programmes as well as ensure transparency in the distribution of premix fuel.
They also promised to establish skills and training centres, to train the youth in oil and gas, ensure the youth are given employment opportunities in oil and gas, establish cold stores along the coastal belt, advocate tax relief for oil and gas companies operating in the fishing communities, lobby for award of scholarship for the youth, embark on capacity building programmes for the youth and also to advocate the allocation of 10 per cent of oil and gas revenue to the Western Region as demanded by the chiefs.
Mr Awal pointed out that, to ensure that the MPs fulfilled their campaign promises, there was the need for the electorates to use community based organisations to publish quarterly news letters on how the MPs would fulfil their promises using the CDD-Ghana accountability / responsiveness matix.
He also called on the media, particularly community radio stations in the various constituencies to design “talk to your MP Programmes” where citizens could phone-in to ask questions on the campaign promises.
On the Accountability Responsiveness Matrix set by CDD, he stressed the need for MPs to ensure their constituencies benefitted from the NPP government promised “Accountability oil capacity development programme for the youth”,
He also asked that the MPs work with the oil and gas companies operating in the region to provide employment opportunity for beneficiaries of the capacity building programme as well as establish partnership with key institutions, organisations, oil and gas companies and NGOs to invest in youth scholarship schemes.
The Research Officer encouraged the MPs to make statements on the floor of parliament for tax relief for oil and gas companies and also to ensure the passage of the local content law.
Mr Awal said it was important for the MPs to work with chiefs to come up with a clearly defined position paper on the demands for the allocation of the 10 percent of oil revenue to the Western Region and to support the relocation of the head office of GNPC to Takoradi to ensure local people gained employment.