By Maxwell Nkansah
Dr. Steve Manteaw, Co-Chair of Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), has underscored the need for the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) to increase its equity participation in the oil and gas industry.
This, he said, was vital to ensure that the country derived maximum benefits from the extraction of its natural resources.
He said no country in the world had enjoyed tremendous benefit from the extraction of its natural resources without direct and heavy participation.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr. Manteaw noted that in a situation where a country did not actively participate in the extraction of its natural resources, foreign investors repatriated a chunk of the profits made and raw materials to their home country.
For example, he said only five percent of Ghana’s gold extraction was retained in the country but indicated that the country could have retained a chunk of the profits if it had high stakes in the extraction.
Subsequently, Dr. Manteaw called on the Government to consider investing in the extraction of the country’s natural resources for high equity.
Contrary to the assertions that the country and the Western Region, in particular, had not benefited from the oil extraction, he said Ghanaians have benefited a lot from the oil revenue.
He mentioned some of the projects funded with oil money to include the construction of Kotoka International Airport Terminal three under the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund which he said was yielding dividends for the country.
He also mentioned that oil money was being used to fund the implementation of the Free Senior High Program which had benefited many Ghanaian children, and debunked the notion that Ghanaians have not benefited from the oil extraction.
Dr. Manteaw expressed concern about the corporate governance structure of the GNPC and said the appointment of the CEO had been political and often characterized by political considerations and interests which override commercial considerations.
This, he stressed, did not augur well for the country’s developmental prowess and advocated the security of tenure for the CEO of GNPC and “argued that in that case, the appointment could go through competitive processes as practiced in the corporate world so that there would be no or limited political interference in its management process.”