A Western Regional stakeholder's forum on petroleum sector governance has been held in Takoradi to evaluate progress made, lessons learnt and the outlook after 10 years of oil in Ghana.
The event which was organised by Friends of the Nation brought together industry experts, district planning officers, civil society actors, assembly members, traditional rulers from the Volta Region and from the six coastal districts of the Western Region.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of FON, Donkris Mevuta noted that, 10 years is enough to assess the happenings from 2007 till 2017, look at the progress made, lessons learnt and what can be done to better the governance of the sector.
He said, “when the discovery started, the development of the oil industry went ahead of certain legal and regulatory frameworks.
There was a lot of advocacy to get the regulatory frameworks meet the development of the oil. There has since then been a lot of suggestions to make the oil more sustainable to help us avoid the Dutch Disease.
It’s 2017 now, we need to look back and see how many of those suggestions have been taken on board, and which ones are outstanding.”
Co-chair of the Ghana Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative GHEITI, Dr. Emmanuel Steve Asare Manteaw who is also a member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee PIAC for his part explained that, for the districts along the coasts to benefit from the Oil and gas sector, they will need to know the inputs the companies require “so the assembly will position itself strategically to get people in the district better equipped to supply those inputs.
This will help to integrate the operations of the company into the local economy and reap some of the benefits from their operations.”
The Natural Resource Coordinator at FON, Solomon Kusi Ampofo raised the urgent need for the fisheries sector to be protected in order for the increased oil search to live side by side peacefully.
“To this end, it is becoming increasingly important that we demarcate some areas in the sea as no-go zones for fishing activities only, just as we have done for forest reserves on land. It is the best practice across the world to ensure that oil activities do no collapse the fishing sector.”
A communiqué of concerns and suggestions is expected to be produced from the gathering to be presented to stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to enhance the governance of the sector.