10 yrs after oil discovery, PIAC member laments nation's failure in properly managing resource

Oil was discovered in Ghana’s territorial waters in 2007[/caption] 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), has said the inability of the country to properly sequence the governance frame work was the first mistake after the oil find in 2007. According to Dr Manteaw, the country didn’t do the national visioning, thus couldn’t translate the vision into policy objective. Speaking on Asem Nyi Dze Ka, a current affairs show on Takoradi-based Connect 97.1 FM, he asserted that: “As a country, we did not learn any lesson from the mistake we made when we discovered gold about hundred years ago”. Dr. Manteaw said 10 years is enough as a country to assess the happenings in the industry and evaluate progress made, lessons learnt, where we are, and what can be done from now. “When we discovered oil, we were supposed to do an input and output analysis; that is, the input that the industry requires and then position ourselves to provide these inputs locally. We can then take the output and add value.” According to him, the country, as was in the case of Norway when they discovered oil, was supposed to call for moratorium on all other activities in order to develop every governance instrument needed and to prepare adequately. He put the blame at the doorstep of Energy Ministry. Nonetheless, he considers the oil find as a blessing. “It has been a blessing but as a country we could have derived much more blessings because if for nothing at all we have about $350 million in the Heritage Fund and the oil money has supported our budget planning, through the annual budget funding and even the current government has proposed to use major part of the oil money for the Free SHS.”

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THE WESTERN REGION Dr. Manteaw said the Western Region deserves more than it has gotten so far and blamed opinion leaders and political leadership of the Region for the turn of events. He disagreed with the call of bringing the headquarters of GNPC to the Western Region and said it will not bring any benefit but rather what the region needs is real economic opportunities. “The assembly had a responsibility of building a baseline data in terms of what the economic status of the region is supposed to be and, over time, track the impact of oil production on the social and economic status of the region and base on that can ascertain if there is any improvement”. He further stated: “If it is established that the region has been adversely impacted, then the provision in the Petroleum Revenue Management Law which talks about compensation; that is section 24 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, Act 815, which says where a community is adversary impacted, that community shall be compensated, could then be implemented”. He said the Region deserves more than it is benefiting now hence should position itself well to benefit from the oil resource. “I have been in discussion with some of the donors to see how they can support and make case for some on the adverse impacts on the region to be addressed by the ministry of finance.” By Malik Ramzy|Connect 97.1FM|3news.com|Ghana ]]>