Dr Isaac Amo Hammond, an Industrialist, at the weekend tasked politicians and political parties contesting the December polls to demonstrate their commitment towards promoting local content policy in practical terms.
“Indigenous companies need support...especially companies that have considerable public interest should be helped to fight competition from the multinationals on a level footing,” Dr Hammond, who is the Chief Executive Officer of an oil marketing company based in the Western Region, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.
He urged political parties to come out clearly in their manifestos with modalities for implementing the local content policy especially in the energy, mining, banking and telecommunication sectors of the economy.
“To most leaders and owners of indigenous companies in these sectors and citizens living in communities where most of these multinationals operate, the policy of local content is just a mirage," he said.
The Government prepared the draft Local Content and Local Participation Policy in Petroleum Activities Policy Framework which seeks to achieve a minimum of 90 per cent local content and local participation in all aspects of the oil and gas industry value chain within a decade.
The policy framework has proposed specific targets for direct employment in the exploration and production of the oil and gas.
These include management staff; which says 50 per cent of the management staff must be Ghanaians from the start of petroleum activities of the licensee and the percentage shall increase to 80 per cent within five years, after the start of the activities.
Core staffs; at least 30 per cent of the technical staff must be Ghanaians from the commencement of petroleum activities of the licensee and the percentage shall increase to at least 80 per cent within five years after the start of the activities; and other staff of which 100 per cent must be Ghanaians.
Dr Hammond called for security measures to expose locals who front for foreigners to the disadvantage of the local industries; stressing that “in the oil sector some scrupulous Ghanaians are fronting for foreigners to operate in the downstream level where local expertise abound”.
He challenged the National Petroleum Authority, Ministry of Energy, National Security, and Association of Oil Marketing Companies to set up a joint tasks force to monitor operations in the oil sector "as Ghana is losing out heavily through transfer pricing”.
Dr Hammond disclosed that in the Bunkering sector due to the infiltration of dubious personalities, about 85 per cent of business are being conducted off-shore, “they supply vessels off-shore without paying the appropriate tax to government ....Ghana’s economy is not benefiting much from the bunkering sector”.
He appealed to the government to strengthen and inject capital in the operations of Tema Oil Refinery that needed strategic partners to support it.
Dr Hammond therefore called on Parliament to pass the Local Content Bill to ensure that operators in the oil sector, especially those in the jubilee oil fields, operated within the permit of the law.
The bill, when passed into law, has the potential to boost enterprise development and capacity building of the locals which would culminate into the overall growth and development the country.
Mr Tony Paul, an International Oil and Gas Consultant from Trinidad and Tobacco, said Ghana could only maximize value from the oil resources through fiscal and non-fiscal measures such as royalties, taxes and local value addition.
He therefore called for strategic and comprehensive skills development programmes to ensure that Ghana got the best out of its oil and gas resources.
Meanwhile, Mr Inusah Fuseini, Deputy Minister of Energy, has said government was working feverishly to pass the draft local content and local participation policy bill into a law.
He said the ministry was working with Cabinet and Parliament to ensure that the bill was passed into law. “If that happens we can hold companies in the energy sector to task,” the Minister said.
The Local Content refers to the level of use of Ghanaian local expertise, goods and services, people, businesses and financing in oil and gas activities.
Energy experts say government will, therefore, need sound financial footing, fitting technology and strong expertise in the sector to be able to benefit fully from the resource.
Mr Fuseini said the government was hopeful that majority of work done in the oil and gas sector would be executed by local indigents from now onwards.
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