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US concerned about Ghana’s local content

Mr Gene A. Cretz, United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana on Thursday said Ghana’s local content law in the oil and gas sectors could make it difficult for the country to attract the needed foreign capital, technology and the expertise.
 He said though the US government was not opposed to Ghana’s local content law, there were problems with the penalties in the law against foreign companies which were detrimental to their operations.
 Mr Cretz made the statement during an interaction with media personnel on trade and investment opportunities between US businesses and their Ghanaian counterparts.
 Other US officials at the meeting included Mr Joel R. Wiegert, Economic Counselor, Mr Paul Taylor, Senior Commercial Officer and Mr Kurt Seifarth, Agricultural Counselor.
 Mr Cretz noted that the US mission in Ghana would want to dialogue with various levels of government on how best to achieve commendable local content objectives.
 He stated that the US government would be supportive of any local content effort that would develop viable local companies to do business in Ghana and around the world.
 He said US companies in Ghana were already involved in local employment, training as well as technology transfer.
“For us, maximising local content is not the same as maximising local value” he added.
Mr Cretz also called for discussions between Ghana’s government and US officials to develop a local content that would be beneficial to the two countries as well as to Ghana’s long term development.
Mr Cretz also announced that the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Account, which had been devoted to the country’s energy sector, could be signed by April 2014.
He said both Ghanaian officials and their US counterpart were working on the specific areas of the energy sector to implement the compact.
He said currently the US government was undertaking an US$8 million survey on Ghana’s power sector to find out what was actually needed in that area in order not to duplicate the issues so that the money put into the second compact could efficiently be utilised.
Mr Cretz further stated that Ghana was beginning to serve as a US trade hub for the rest of the West African sub-region.
He said a number of American businesses including General Electric (GE) and Halliburton had set up their bases for operations in the country.
He said the population of West Africa is about 300 million, and that, the businesses had recognised the growing value of being the first major business in the ECOWAS Sub-Region.     



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