The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), an energy think tank in the Republic of Ghana, has identified gaps in the enforcement of Ghana’s petroleum agreement.
According to ACEP, these gaps have been a major setback for the West African nation’s petroleum and mineral resources contracts.
This came to light at the launch of the Petroleum Contracts Platform by the Head of Policy Unit at ACEP Ms. Pauline Anaman, in Accra, capital of Ghana.
The report said evidence pointed to poor due diligence done on the financial and technical competences of companies during contract award processes; governments’ failure to strictly enforce contractual terms and impose sanctions upon breach and lack of relevant public data on performance of such companies to aid civil society and interested parties to track their performances in the sector.
“Sadly, ACEP’s 2019 update of contract monitor revealed no significant improvements from 2017 findings. Only two companies graduated into the compliance bracket. Companies have failed to deliver on their contractual obligations due to lack of competition for blocks (all contracts monitored were granted based on the open-door policy); weak parliamentary oversight; poor track record of some companies; and political patronage of the inefficiencies we see,” it stressed.
ACEP has, therefore, urged the government to review existing petroleum agreements and sanction non-compliant contracts in the sector to engender efficiency.
“At this point, let me commend the leadership of the Petroleum Commission for taking this project seriously by providing ACEP with every collaborative support to this day. We are also grateful to STAAC for funding ACEP’s initiative to support the government’s efforts in ensuring obligations in upstream oil and gas industry,” the report noted.
The report said the Ghana Contract Monitor is a representation of how far Ghana has come from the abyss of extractive contract transparency, adding that it was not enough in the wake of an era of open contracting.
ACEP intends to expand the scope of the Ghana Contract Monitor Platform to cover a century-old mining industry to legalise and implement international best practices on open contracting that achieves good accountability results at every stage of the mining value chain for meaningful development outcomes.
“I must emphasise that the Ghana Contract Monitoring Platform was designed with every person living in Ghana in mind. We are resolute in our drive for disability inclusion in the resources sector and have made this platform friendly for the blind with text to speech features,” she observed.
ACEP, therefore, urged the media and Ghanaians to be actively interested in accessing information that empowers their minds and amplifies their voices to demand transparency and accountability in the extractive industry.
The Ghana Contract Monitor Platform is an online tool that provides updates on work of non-producing extractive sector companies that have valid agreements with the Government of Ghana to explore, develop and produce petroleum and mineral.