News

    Ghana Lawmakers Want Oil Profits Invested Responsibly

    Ghana Lawmakers Want Oil Profits Invested Responsibly
    Ghana Lawmakers Want Oil Profits Invested Responsibly

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Ghana is set to begin oil and gas production at a new off-shore field.  Officials expect the increase in output to bring the country as much as $1 billion a year. Lawmakers want to ensure that those profits are spent responsibly.

    Ghana's offshore Jubilee Field is set to begin producing oil and natural gas next year that could earn the country as much as 20 billion dollars over the next 20 years.

    But the new government need look no farther than neighboring Nigeria to see how quickly squandered oil wealth can bring resentment, violence, and environmental destruction.

    So lawmakers in Ghana want to make sure they have a plan in place for spending that oil revenue responsibly before the money starts coming in.

    Parliamentarian Catherine Afeku says expectations are high in Ghana and the benefits to come must be shared by those who live in oil producing areas. "For the longest [time] we have not had this kind of resource, and everybody associates the black gold with real social infrastructure. Coming from the Nzema area where the oil is there must be a bill, a law promoting the use of local content in some of the real jobs that the people of the area would be able to use," she said.

    Abdulai Daramani is the environmental program officer for the Accra-based advocacy group Third World Network-Africa. While expectations are high, he says the risk that Ghanaians will be disappointed is just as high unless there is a proper legal framework to disclose how much money is being made and where it is going. "I am not too sure the level of impact that the oil will make if we don't have safeguards against waste, safeguards against corporate exploitation and safeguards against abuse of power and political discretions. So for us to be able to meet those high hopes we need to manage the oil revenue effectively, and that requires the need for us to put in place concrete terms and conditions that optimize the oil revenue for us," he said.

    Lawmaker James Afedzi is Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee. He says President John Atta-Mills' government  is drafting legislation to regulate oil revenue and will soon present its recommendations to legislators. "We are waiting for the legislation to come from the executive to the House, and then we will look at the options that are available to the government. Then we will take a decision. But my expectation is that the revenue that will be generating from that find must be used in a way that will benefit everybody," he said.

    A study by the aid agency Oxfam America and Ghana's Integrated Social Development Center says the transparent management of oil funds not only improves public spending but gives the public greater confidence that their money is being spent wisely.

    Parliamentarian Afeku wants the new law to include mandatory investments in job training and education. "We should be able to create a fund that is transparent so it would actually promote education in those sectors - our engineers, pipeline designers - people who would be directly involved in the industry from Ghana, so that they would take on when we are gone. We are still a developing nation I would rather see it used in developing the infrastructure of the nation. So children can actually go to better schools equipped with IT to prepare them for the industry," she said.

    The next test for Ghana's government is overseeing the sale of Kosmos Energy's stake in the Jubilee Field - a stake that is worth more than three billion dollars. Exxon-Mobil, British Petroleum, and China's National Offshore Oil Company are all bidding for that stake.

    Industry analysts say Ghana's government hopes to find the financing to acquire the Kosmos stake itself, then sell it off to the highest bidder and reinvest the profits in the National Petroleum Corporation, which already holds 13 percent of the Jubilee Field.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.