Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, a Deputy Minister of Energy, in charge of Petroleum, has indicated government’s commitment to support relevant research for public discourse on policies, laws and regulations in the oil and gas sector.
He said among the hurdles to accountability in the oil sector was the lack of quality research on oil and gas for law makers, civil society and the media to inform and influence policy and legislative debates as well as serve as effective checks and balances on the sector.
In view of that, the Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project (OGCBP) was established in May 2011, to improve public management and regulatory capacity, while enhancing transparency and strengthening local technical skills in Ghana’s emerging oil and gas sector.
Dr. Amin however noted that, “we have made significant progress to date. Effective regulation, active Ghanaian participation, increasing the capacity of institutions managing the sector as well as supporting institutions that train the Ghanaian workforce to operate in the sector are but a few significant steps that underlined our strategy for ensuring a successful oil and gas regime. This led to the creation of the Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project under the Ministry of Energy, which provided physical and soft infrastructure for building an oil industry for the benefit of our people.”
The Project he said, has helped mitigate some of the obstacles in the oil and gas sector, particularly by improving policy formulation and regulatory capacity of key public institutions and helped enhance transparency in the oil and gas sector.
The Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project (OGCBP) in achieving another milestone, has established the Independent Oil and Gas Information Resource Centre (IOGIRC), with support from the World Bank and the Government of Ghana, to operate as an interactive space for information on the oil and gas sector, as an independent institution under the OGCBP.
Meanwhile, at the launch of the centre in Accra on Tuesday 20th December, 2017 at the Alisa Hotel, the IOGIRC Steering Committee, made up of representatives from seven stakeholder institutions like Tullow Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Kosmos Energy, ENI Ghana, Petroleum Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOSPA) was inaugurated.
Dr. Amin however noted that, “Government is therefore convinced that, the Resource Centre will be used to the optimal to justify this huge investment.”
“Building on the experience of other oil producing countries, the Centre will provide relevant information on the operation of the oil and gas sector to all interested parties and raise the bar on public scrutiny of the decisions public officials make, regarding the exploitation and use of our oil and gas resources,” the Deputy Minister emphasised.
He added that, to deliver on its mandate, the Centre would provide comprehensive information through both online and offline channels.
According to him, giving true meaning to the objective of the Centre, the Government would soon demonstrate its commitment to broadening the boundaries of the transparency and information disclosure by launching a Public Register of Petroleum Agreements, Permits and Authorisation, a requirement by Section 56 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 2016 (Act 919).
“It is our expectation that the Register will not only complement the work of the Centre but more importantly, serve as important reference source for information,” he added.
“In fact, we want to make oil a blessing for the current and future generation. We want to make oil a catalyst for economic, human and physical transformation of our economy; and we count on all of you to support us in realizing these noble objectives,” Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam stressed.
Mr. Kwame Jantuah, the Vice Chairman of Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the chairman of the event on his part reiterated that, oil marketing companies in the country should corporate with Government to ensure Ghanaians benefit from the oil revenue.
He however, charged operators of the IOGIRC website to ensure they put only reliable and authentic information from a correct sources on it.
Mr. Alex Kyei, who the Coordinator of the OGCBP also said, IOGIRC is a knowledge hub committed to promote transparency, gives access to information on the oil and gas industry in Ghana by educating the public and collaborating with the various institutions in the oil and gas sector, to share knowledge and resources.