Ghanaians secured one billion dollars in contracts from the country’s oil and gas industry between 2010 and 2015, the Ghana National Petroleum Company has revealed.
According to the GNPC, the figure represents 16.6 per cent of the total of six billion dollars of contracts awarded to companies in the industry between the period.
Against this backdrop, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce wants Ghanaians to be well-equipped to be able to secure more contracts.
The Chamber made the call at a day’s conference on “Leveraging lessons from the oil sector to maximize opportunities from the one district, one factory initiative”.
It was organised in collaboration with Western Region Coastal Foundation.
The Petroleum Local content and Local Participation Regulations 2013 requires Ghanaians to be given priority in the employment of people and award of contracts in the petroleum industry while local capacities in the industry are developed through education, skill transfer and expertise development among others.
It’s been 10 years of oil exploration in Ghana but coastal extractive communities in the Western region are lagging behind in terms of infrastructural and social developments.
Indigenes complain of being sidelined in their quest to be employed in the oil industry although they claim to have the requisite certificates and skill.
Local oil companies and small and medium enterprises have complained of their bids being rejected with the excuse of non – compliance of international standards.
Paramount chief of Essikado Traditional, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the conference area linked colonialism to exportation of raw materials, indicating Ghanaians were still under colonialism.
He said considering that oil exploration is exhaustible, it is crucial that government replaces natural resources extracted with tangible developments.
“So when we go into the word extractive industry, once you extract it doesn’t come back so raw material like oil, once they go they don’t come back… if you have not planned its use, don’t extract, if you don’t know what to do with it to enhance that particular thing, let it stay there,” he advised.
The paramount chief said industrialisation is the backbone of every economy, but wondered what lessons Ghana has derived from the 10 years of oil exploration in the country, saying “so 10 years, what lessons have we had from this?”
Nketsia V observed the Western Region lacks the human resources to fit into the available space of industrialisation, stating “this region has one of the biggest problems and the chiefs always talk about it; unemployment…we know we lack human resources development”.
He urged all stakeholders to reposition themselves to take advantage of government’s one district one factory policy.
Director of special services of the Petroleum Commission Ghana, Kwaku Boateng, observed most local companies in the oil and gas sector are poorly structured and do not have strong financial base to resource their outfits.
He added the local oil companies lack technical certification for which reason they fail to qualify for competitive bidding.
Mr. Boateng enumerated some measures the Commission will take to ensure local participation is maximized.
“What the Commission is trying to do now is to build the capacities of these local companies by enhancing their technical capabilities. Next month, we are going to dialogue with Ghana Standard Authority to agree on how to ensure that oil and gas companies in Ghana acquire [the] required technical certification” he said.
Western Regional chairman of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abass Mienzan, raised concerns over high interest rate on borrowing as a challenge impeding growth of local companies.
He called on government to put in measures that will cushion local companies.
By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere|Connect FM|3news.com