The Ministry’s attention has been drawn to press reportage on the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC). The reportage sought to create some confusion in the minds of well-meaning Ghanaians particularly as the issues raised are not factual and therefore misleading.
The Ministry therefore wishes to set the records straight by responding to the issues raised as follows:
1. BACKGROUND OF THE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (EDC)
A Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of an Enterprise Development Centre between the Ministry, Jubilee Partners and Ministry of Trade and Industry was signed in 2013 to train SMEs in the Oil and Gas Industry to take advantage of opportunities in the oil and Gas sector. This is in line with the Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations, 2013 (LI 2204). The purpose of the said Regulations which among others is to promote maximisation of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses and financing in the petroleum industry value chain and their retention in the country.
The purpose of the Centre is to train and develop the capacity of SMEs to partake in tenders and access contracts in the Oil and Gas industry. The Centre is hosted in a rented building in Takoradi.
The Centre has a Project Steering Committee made up of representatives from the Ministry, Jubilee Partners, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Association of Ghana Industries, Petroleum Commission and Ghana Oil and Gas Providers Association.
From 2013, Enablis Ghana was in charge of managing, running training programmes and capacity development initiatives for SMEs at the Centre.
The Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) later took over the management of the centre for an interim period of six months which also came to an end in July 2016.
The Jubilee Partners’ funding for the centre ended in July 2016 and because of the importance of the project, the Ministry directed GNPC to take over. In the interim the Ministry maintained skeleton staffs to ensure the Centre was not left to deteriorate.
2. GNPC NOT CAPTURING EDC IN THEIR HANDING OVER NOTES:
The Enterprise Development Centre was captured boldly in the Ministry of Petroleum’s Handing over Notes to the Transition Team under the heading “Management of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC)”. GNPC did not capture it in their handing over notes because they had not commenced management of the centre. It was therefore the Ministry’s mandate to report on the project.
3. TENANCY AGREEMENT
The tenancy agreement between the landlord Mr John Donkor and the Jubilee Partners ended on 31st January 2017. Prior to July 2016 the Jubilee Partners had paid the rent up to December 2016. Because the Ministry now had to take up the operational expenditure of the Centre, management decided to look at two options due to lack of funding. These include:
a. Negotiating the rent downwards from the initial $6,000 paid by the Jubilee Partners to the landlord, and
b. Moving the assets out of the building to a safe location while an affordable alternative is sought to house the Centre. This is because Tullow Ghana indicated to the Ministry that they require a month, to refurbish the building and hand it over to the landlord by 31st January 2017.
It is in this regard that, in December 2016, the owner of the rented building housing the EDC, Mr John Donkor was invited by Tullow Ghana to meet the Ministry to renegotiate the rental fee downwards from $6,000 per month to enable the Ministry pay for the rent. The Ministry offered to pay the landlord, Mr John Donkor $3,000 per month as rent but Mr John Donkor rejected the offer. Another meeting was scheduled to enable further discussions but prior to that meeting, Mr John Donkor communicated to the Ministry that his initial agreement was with Tullow Ghana hence he will not deal with the Ministry.
4. MOVING OUT OF THE RENTED BUILDING
Since the initial option was unsuccessful due to the refusal by the landlord to accept a lower rental fee, the Ministry had no choice but to go in for the second option: move out of the building by 31st December 2016 to enable Tullow Ghana refurbish the building and hand it over to the landlord, Mr John Donkor by 31st January 2017.
The Head of Local Content at the Ministry, Mrs Afua Amissah engaged GNPC after that and presented GNPC with three options:
1. GNPC should consider if they could pay the landlord’s rental fee of $6,000 so EDC would continue to use the building,
2. Move the assets to GNPC’s warehouse while a more affordable building is being considered or,
3. Move the assets in the interim to Rigworld’s warehouse by 31st December 2016 to allow Tullow Ghana refurbish the building in January 2017 for handing over to the landlord, Mr John Donkor.
The landlord, Mr John Donkor was informed by Tullow Ghana about the Ministry’s decision to move out and handover his building to him because of his refusal to reduce the rental fee. Tullow Ghana indicated to Mr Donkor that he was required to be present during that exercise but Mr Donkor informed Tullow Ghana that he would not be available in December 2016 to witness the moving out exercise but rather would be available from 14th January, 2017.
Finally, it is surprising that the landlord, Mr John Donkor is misleading the good people of Ghana by indicating that he suspects some non-patriots from the Ministry and GNPC are attempting to create loot and share at the expense of the people of Takoradi.
In conclusion, the assets of the EDC were being moved out because the tenancy agreement between Tullow Ghana and the landlord would expire in January 2017 and also because the Ministry decided not to pay $6,000 per month as rent to the landlord but would seek for a more affordable alternative.
On this note, the Ministry therefore wishes to reassure Ghanaians that the Enterprise Development Centre remains an important project established to train SMEs in the Oil and Gas Industry hence the Ministry’s keen interest in ensuring that the Centre continues to deliver on its mandate.
KING A. WELLINGTON