Free SHS, a right investment of our oil revenues – Prez Akufo Addo

President Akufo-Addo launches oil and gas training rounds

President Akufo-Addo has stressed that “Free SHS program is ensuring that the country’s oil revenues are being distributed to the right channels, and not ending up in the pockets of a few.

According to him, his administration is fully committed to using the country’s oil revenues to create assets, rather than waste it on consumption and the accumulation of debt.

Oil and Gas Licensing Rounds

The launch of the licensing round is expected to empower government to negotiate, invite and will also be expected to go into petroleum agreements with companies, who may have interest in exploring, developing and producing petroleum in an efficient, safe, cost effective, sustainable and mutually beneficial manner.

So far nine oil blocks have been mapped out but only three are expected to be allocated through the open competitive tender.

The other two would be given through direct negotiations, while one would be reserved for the national oil company, GNPC.

GNPC is expected to explore its block in partnership with a chosen strategic partner with the view to develop its technical capacity to become an operator thus bringing to six oil blocks to be given out in the first licensing round of bidding.

The other three are expected to be auctioned in the second round at a date yet to be fixed.

Speaking at the launch of the Oil and Gas Licensing Round which took place at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra on Monday October 15, the president said Ghana is investing revenues from oil in one of its ambitious social programs in the history of the country which is the Free Senior High School policy.

He singled out the free SHS policy as one which is ensuring transparency in the distribution of the country’s oil revenues to the appropriate quarters, rather than being squandered by a selected few.

The President noted that “Investing in our children and in the future of our country is the most appropriate investment any government can make, and we are fully committed to continuing on this path.”

The President commended countries that have benefited immensely from their oil and gas resources, saying they are ones that implemented policies to accelerate value addition activities in their economies, through the development of forward and backward linkages, and by investing oil revenues in strategic social and economic programmes.

Akufo-Addo said the only way to sustain and broaden the scope of the country’s social interventions that rely on petroleum revenues is targeting the increase in crude oil production.

Cabinet is expected to soon approve a ‘Blueprint and Roadmap for Accelerated Oil and Gas Exploration and Development’, which is targeted at increasing Ghana’s oil reserves as well as its gas production.

The President stated that cooperation with the domestic downstream petroleum sector will help increase Ghanaian content and Ghanaian participation in the oil industry, helping accelerate the pace of institutional capacity development to manage the oil and gas resources.

Ghana after 11 years of discovering oil

President Akufo-Addo highlighted a number of successes chalked by the current NPP Government, under his leadership in Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector, since January 2017. These include the establishment of a petroleum register, launched in February 2018, aimed at broadening the boundaries of transparency and information disclosure in Upstream Petroleum and also to allow the public access petroleum agreements, licenses, permits and authorisations, with the view of enhancing transparency in the management of the petroleum upstream sector.

He added, local firms are being empowered by the launch of the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) to play progressively active roles in the oil and gas value chain through capacity development,  financing and partnership support.

He confirmed the passing of Laws such as the Petroleum Exploration and Production (Data Management) Regulations 2017, LI 2257, the Petroleum Exploration and Production (Health, Safety and Environment) Regulations 2017, LI 2258, and the General Petroleum Regulations, he said, have also been passed.

Attendance

The launch was attended by the vice president Dr. Alhaji Mahmoud Bawumia, some major key players in the oil industry such as the International Oil Companies (IOC) and local representatives. Also, present was the minister for Energy John Pater Amewu as well as the chief executive officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Company Dr. K. K Sarpong.

By Nana Afrane Asante