Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, has warned the government against using the nation’s petroleum resources as collateral for loans.
“We should desist from contaminating the crude oil trade with other economic transactions such as loan agreements and the rest. And let’s do a purely crude oil trade. If we make gains from that, we can use the gains to go and repay whatever loans we have. Because after all, whatever we gain from that goes to the state and the state is at liberty,” he said.
Dr Manteaw gave the warning on Thursday at a Stakeholders Forum on Crude Oil and Natural Gas Marketing in Accra.
The Forum, organized by PIAC with the support of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), was to educate and develop the capacity of stakeholders.
It was to afford participants the opportunity to discuss the extent to which the Ghana group and the international oil companies’ crude oil and gas marketing strategy affects realised prices and ultimately, accrued revenues.
It also provided a platform to share best practices on crude oil and natural gas marketing.
It aided key government agencies to acquire better understanding of the process of crude oil and natural gas marketing by both the GNPC and the international oil companies in order to assist them in their regulatory and revenue administration functions.
Dr Manteaw said PIAC would be developing a policy brief on petroleum resources and share with the Government in terms of how they think things would be done differently to achieve high value retention for the country.
On the suggestion that a Pricing Committee be set for Ghana’s oil, Dr Manteaw said: “I support much more transparency in the way the price options are exercised. And if it would take a Committee to ensure that there is that price option – transparency; of course, I will be for it.”
He noted that because petroleum resources were very fluid and evolving by the minute and second, a Committee to meet before certain decisions were made would slow the process, hence, there was the need to be mindful of that.
Dr Manteaw said the key concern was about transparency; “The need to let everybody know how we set out price option for instance and who is involved”.
“An aspect of the concern I have, has to do even with Litasco, whether the loan agreement went to Parliament and dully approved before embarking on these kinds of transactions.”
Dr Manteaw lauded the GNPC for being transparent in handling Ghana’s petroleum resources and for reporting to them on timely basis.
Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, General Manager, Sustainability at GNPC said the Corporation was committed to ensuring transparency in its operations.