President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that Guyana and Ghana must find ways of adding value to their substantial hydrocarbon resources to enable the two countries to transition to developed nations.
The President said the effective management of these resources, and not exporting them in their raw form, would determine whether the two countries could be developed into prosperous nations.
Speaking at the maiden International Energy Conference and Expo in Georgetown, Guyana, on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had succeeded in managing its natural resources effectively and touted as a model case in Africa in the management of oil and gas resources.
Ghana discovered oil resources in large quantities in 2007, which offered the country a unique and historic opportunity to leverage its newfound oil and gas resources for the development of the country.
Many more discoveries had since followed, President Akufo-Addo stated as Ghana’s ability to use these resources for the development, and enhancement of the welfare of its citizens has remained robust.
Ghana, President Alufo-Addo indicated, had implemented various policies and initiatives to change the narrative of some African countries that had failed to achieve sustainable development from the exploitation of their natural resources.
Ghana soon after her oil discovery, President Akufo-Addo said, resolved to improve the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for the efficient management of the industry.
“To demonstrate further our commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability, Ghana set up a Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), to deal with challenges relating to transparency and accountability, for the use of petroleum revenues,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo stated the government had signed up to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (EITI), concerning oil and gas, which required that it published revenues from petroleum resources, “and agree to use these resources efficiently for the benefit of the people.”
The major challenge that confronted the country, the President indicated, was how to develop the oil and gas industry with optimal local content and participation, to enhance national development and create jobs.
But the decision to involve Ghanaians in the exploitation of the country’s oil and gas resources was cured when the country adopted the Local Content and Local Participation Policy in 2010.
“Ghana’s local content law is not about nationalisation of the petroleum sector or a protectionist initiative, but a vehicle for partnering investors to develop a domestic capacity that will bring mutual benefits to the investors and the citizens of the country, who own the resources, and, thereby, ensure social harmony and cohesion,” he said.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD