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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs