Deputy Western Regional Minister, Hon. Gifty Kusi
Deputy Western Regional Minister, Hon. Gifty Kusi

Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Deputy Western Regional Minister, has appealed to cabinet to develop the region since it contributes significantly to the growth of the national economy.

She said the Western Region had the bulk of the country’s natural resources, solid minerals and hydrocarbons and provides the bulk of foreign exchange earnings.

Delivering the welcome address, at the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) stakeholders engagement on mining, oil, gas and commodity trading report for 2015 and 2016 in Tarkwa, Mrs. Kusi said the Bank of Ghana figures show that the total revenue Ghana collected for exports stood at 13.8 billion dollars.

She said a breakdown showed that gold contributed about 5.8 billion dollars, while oil and cocoa was 3.1 billion and 2.7 billion dollars respectively.

“If these figures are anything to go by, then we in the Western Region are really carrying the whole Ghana on our shoulders” she said.

Mrs. Kusi explained that the conditions in mining, oil and gas communities do not measure up to the huge resources that had over the years been extracted by the companies operating in those areas.

When mining, oil and gas activities comes to an area, it attracts a large workforce, which mounts pressure on social amenities that the assemblies provide, she said

“The mining, oil and gas communities continue to suffer from the negative effects of the extractive of this finite resources and most of these communities happened to be among the deprived communities in the country, lacking tangible infrastructural facilities such as portable water, good health and educational facilities” she added.

Mrs. Kusi pointed out that the royalties that goes to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies was not adequate to solve their problems.

According to her, initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which provides opportunity for public disclosure of revenues by extractive companies and government, would go a long way to complement existing structures of good governance and transparency in the country and put them on their toes.

“We believe making the people aware of revenue generated from the activities of extractive industries like mining, oil and gas, would engender citizens participation in the decision making process at the three local levels and help to promote local economic development and poverty reduction” she indicated.

She commended the EITI for the good work and urged participants to take the dissemination of the reports seriously and also share the knowledge they had acquired with their colleagues.

In a speech read for the Chief Director, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Patrick Nomo, said to deepen transparency in the management of Ghana’s petroleum resources and give practical meaning to section 10 of the petroleum E and P Act 919, the government through the Ministry of Energy inaugurated the licensing round bid evaluation and negotiation committee for the first ever oil and gas licensing round for six offshore oil blocks in Cape three points in the Western Region.

He said the new process aims at ensuring transparency, value for money and getting companies with the requisite financial expertise to exploit the oil and gas resources.

A local content policy for the petroleum downstream sector to ensure active participation of Ghanaians in the sector’s value chain was approved by cabinet, Mr. Nomo stated.

He said a local content committee was set up at the National Petroleum Authority to coordinate activities on local content in the downstream sector.

In view of this, the Chief Director said a local content fund has been established at the petroleum Commission to provide financial resources to small and medium scale enterprise to support their participation in the oil and gas activities.

According to Mr Nomo, operationalisation of the Fund is scheduled for 2019.

The EITI is an initiative, which involves reconciliation of payments by extractive industries and receipts by the government, with the ultimate intention of promoting transparency and accountability in order to enhance development outcomes in the extractive sector.

The initiative was launched in September, 2002, and Ghana subsequently signed on to implement it in 2003.

The Ghana EITI had so far produced 13 mining sector reports and six reports for the oil and gas sector, which contain various findings and recommendations.

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