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Four political parties prepare oil and gas policies ahead of 2016 election


By: Fred Yaw Sarpong, Daily Express

Four Ghanaian political parties with representatives in Parliament have prepared their oil and gas policies as part of their 2016 election manifestos and have engaged stakeholders in Accra.

At a forum held in Accra and organized by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the parties were given the opportunities to explain to Ghanaians what their policies are about and how they would manage the nation’s natural resources when given the opportunity.

The parties were Convention People’s Party (CPP), represented by Senior Policy Advisor, Mr. Kwame Jantuah; National Democratic Congress (NDC), represented by Dr. William Ahiadzie, a Policy Advisor; Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng for New Patriotic Party (NPP); and Mr. Bernard Mornah, the Chairman of People’s National Convention (PNC).

The four political parties policy positions centered on institutional reform in the oil and gas sector, transparency and accountability, revenue management and fiscal sustainability.

All the four political parties agreed that because oil and gas can finish at any given period, the resources generated from these sectors must be invested in other areas in order to benefit the country especially the future generation.

Questions centered on the upstream exploratory activities, to issues of transparency and accountability, to how the revenue that are derived from extracting the oil are use for the benefit or otherwise for the people were asked.

Mr. Jantauh of the CPP said his government would put in place a management and operational system to strengthen the state owned enterprises (SOEs) while reviewing the current fiscal regime and policies to address the challenges relating to fiscal responsibility and prudent management of the resources accrued from the sectors.

He said the CPP would make sure that there is good governance in the extractive sector as well as develop a long term national strategic framework for the management and governance of the natural resources sector.

Dr. Ahadzie of NDC said his government will continue to abide by fiscal sustainability rule ensuring that its commitment to expanding infrastructural development and other social investment did not lead to significant expenditure overruns that undermined its capacity to meet future commitments.

   “The NDC’s energy policy specifically aimed to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy by providing low-cost and high quality energy inputs to industrial, mining and other sectors as well as for domestic use; improve social equity by addressing the energy requirements of the poor, and ensure protection of the environment by sustainable utilization of resources”.

Mr. Mornah of the PNC said his party would earmark 60% revenues from the sectors and invest in agriculture infrastructure.

“The PNC shall ensure that each agriculture-centered district had a determined quantum of funds to develop the relevant infrastructure”

Mr. Kwarteng of the NPP said his party would strengthen Ghana Petroleum Commission and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to play their roles efficiently to manage the resources well for the country.   

He said the issue of beneficial ownership and developing the manufacturing sector would be the priority of his party if voted into power.

Dr. Steve Manteaw, co-chair of Ghana’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) who witnessed the presentation from the parties said programme such as this is useful for enhancing our democracy processes especially in making sure that election decision we make are informed by a certain well grounded understanding of how resources we entrust into the hands of politicians are manage in our interest.

“If you look at various parties positions expressed on this platform, it give us clear indication in terms of what each party going to do differently to improve the returns on the investment we making in our oil and gas sector. To improve how we work to ensure that oil resources that belong to this country benefit the majority of the citizenry,” he noted.

He said the forum was crucial because if the various interest groups working in the various interest of out national economy, would provide such platform on a debate on what policies parties have in each of sectors, it will help to take out the political tension and the trivialities that often characterize party campaigning and ensure that the quality of political campaign in the country is taken to a new level.





   

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