News / Africa

Activists Press Ghana's Parliament on New Oil Law

TEXT SIZE - +

As Ghana remains on track to join the world's league of oil producers next month, activists are concerned that a law being debated in parliament will not do enough to protect revenue transparency.

Civil society groups in Ghana have already asked the government to suspend licenses for oil exploration until the new oil and gas exploration bill is passed.

Friday a petition with thousands of signatures is due to be presented to Ghana's Speaker of Parliament Joyce Bamford-Addo calling on lawmakers to pass a law with strong transparency provisions before scheduled production starts in December.

Ghana's civil society movement has been getting support from transparency advocates in the United States, such as Ian Gary from Oxfam America.

The group's senior policy manager on extractive industries is afraid some of what he views as favorable elements in the proposed law will be taken out. "We are worried that some of the transparency provisions, such as publication of the payments that the government receives in major national newspapers or a proposed public interest and accountability committee might be stripped from the law," Gary said.

Gary says thousands of protest text messages have also been sent concerning the issue.  

There have also been television, radio, and web ads, including one which shows money from a gas pump going back through pipelines to fund mansions, corruption and bribes.

The video ends with pictures of poor schools and hospitals in Africa and this voice-over: "Billions of dollars come out of the ground each year, yet our schools, our clinics, our children do not benefit.  Where does the money go? We have a right to know."

Gary says civil society groups have more and more pressure points to make their case. "They are really using the democratic space that they have available to them. Sometimes Ghanaians vote for contests like Miss Ghana, but in this case, they are sending text messages to the civil society coalition working on oil transparency, calling on the government to be transparent in its management of oil revenues," he said.

Former Ghanaian President John Kufuor has also expressed concern about recent developments surrounding Ghana's expected oil boom. He told the British-based Financial Times newspaper he was almost tempted to believe in what people call the oil curse, by which they say oil brings more problems than benefits.

Some estimates are that Ghana could make as much as $1 billion a year in new oil revenues.  

Government officials have warned against what they call hopes of an oil miracle. They have also stressed the importance of ensuring local employment in the oil business.

Start of production has been complicated by allegations of corruption between the Texas-based company Kosmos, which has important stakes in Ghana's oil fields and EO, a small Ghanaian company founded by two of Mr. Kufuor's former political allies.

Mr. Kufuor said both companies were looking to explore oil in Ghana much before other companies, which explains why they made important finds and are getting good contracts.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the matter found no evidence of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is aimed at stopping bribery.

Chinese oil giant CNOOC and Ghana's state owned firm recently made a $5 billion joint bid for the stakes owned by Kosmos, but so far the Texas company has rejected the offer. An earlier bid of more than $4 billion by oil giant Exxon Mobil also failed

Activists seeking a better framework for Ghana's oil future would also like to see the new law requiring the disclosure of oil contracts between the government and foreign oil companies, as well as the establishment of an independent oil and gas regulatory authority.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid