By Papisdaff Abdullah
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated his administration is using the country’s oil revenues to create assets, and not waste it on consumption and the accumulation of debt.
The Ghanaian leader said “we are investing revenues from oil in one of the most ambitious social programmes of our country’s history, i.e. the Free Senior High School policy. In the 2018 budget, GH¢455.9 million of petroleum revenues was allocated to the Free SHS programme.”
President Akufo Addo stressed that “Free SHS is ensuring that our oil revenues are being equitably distributed to our people, and not ending up in the pockets of a few. The most important resource of any nation is its people.”
He continued, “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.”
Mr Akufo Addo made this known when he launched the oil and gas licensing round 2018, in Accra.
Addressing the gathering, the President noted that the countries that have benefited immensely from their oil and gas resources, are those 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.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that his government is following suit, adding that “if we are to sustain and broaden the scope of our social interventions that rely on petroleum revenues, we must consciously work to increase crude oil production.”
That is why, in furtherance of petroleum exploration activities, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is also making great progress in its efforts to discovering oil and gas deposits onshore in the Voltaian basin.
Again, in seeking to increase Ghana’s oil reserves and improve on oil and gas production, Cabinet is expected to soon approve a ‘Blueprint and Roadmap for Accelerated Oil and Gas Exploration and Development’, which is based on a new strategy of aggressive exploration.
“The strategy seeks to build synergies with the domestic downstream petroleum sector; to increase Ghanaian content and Ghanaian participation in the oil industry; and to accelerate the pace of institutional capacity development to manage our oil and gas resources efficiently,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Achievements in oil sector
With Ghana having discovered oil and gas deposits some eleven years ago, as a result of the bold and farsighted policies of the Kufuor-led NPP government, President Akufo-Addo noted that the current NPP Government, under his leadership, has chalked a number of successes in Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector, since January 2017.
They include the establishment of a petroleum register, launched earlier this year to allow the public access petroleum agreements, licences, permits and authorisations, with the view of enhancing transparency in the management of the petroleum upstream sector.
Government, he added, has launched the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) Programme, which is empowering local firms to play progressively active roles in the oil and gas value chain through capacity development, and financing and partnership support.
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.
President Akufo-Addo added that his government finalised “the interconnection between the National Gas Transmission System and the West African Gas Pipeline system”, and has also ensured “a 17% reduction of the delivered price of domestic gas from $8.8 to $7.29 per mmbtu, in line with Government’s strategy to position the gas industry as a leading contributor to value added industrialization in Ghana.”