President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the country and Guyana must work to add value to their hydrocarbon resources for the benefit of their people.
“It is of utmost necessity that countries such as Ghana and Guyana find ways of bringing their substantial hydrocarbon resources to production, and quickly too.
“We must add value to these resources and not export them in their raw form if we are to transition to the status of developed countries. The effective management of these resources will determine whether we make it or not,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the maiden international energy conference and expo in Georgetown, Guyana, last Tuesday.
The event was attended by the President of Guyana, the Prime Minister of Barbados, the President of Suriname, the Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, among others.
President Akufo-Addo said there was the need for the two countries to consider the social, economic and environmental benefits of hydrocarbon resources in a continuously changing world.
“No energy project, no matter how high its return on value, is worth it if the interests of some or majority of stakeholders are not properly represented and, therefore, left impoverished and dissatisfied,” he added.
The President said due to the prudent management of resources, Ghana was now being touted as a model case in Africa, especially in the management of oil and gas resources.
He said the discovery of oil resources in the country in 2007 offered it a unique and historic opportunity to leverage the resources for the development of the economy and also finance priority domestic investments.
“By the grace of God, many more discoveries have since followed, and Ghana’s ability to use these resources to grow the economy and enhance the welfare of the people remains robust,” he said.
In line with that, the government had come up with policies focused on ensuring the sustainable growth of the sector, including employment creation, protection of the environment, revenue and cost management, transparency, capacity building and local content development, he said.
Another was improvement in the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the efficient management of the oil and gas industry, he added.
“To further demonstrate our commitment, Ghana set up a Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) to deal with challenges relating to transparency and accountability in the use of petroleum revenues,” the President said.
He added that it had also signed up to the extractive industry transparency initiative (EITI) in relation to oil and gas, which required that the country published revenue from its petroleum resources and also agree to use the resources efficiently for the benefit of the people.
President Akufo-Addo, however, said a major challenge Ghana was confronted with was how to develop the oil and gas industry with optimal local content for job creation and growth, hence the adoption of a local content and participation policy in 2010.
“We have been relatively successful in creating skilled and internationally competitive domestic suppliers through this law.
“It is important to note that Ghana’s local content law is not about nationalisation of the petroleum sector or a protectionist initiative but a vehicle for partnering investors to develop domestic capacity that will bring mutual benefits to investors and the citizens of the country who own the resources and thereby ensure social harmony and cohesion,” he added.