?Ghana has so far achieved 80 percent employment rate for locals in its tottering oil sector, an official revealed here?on Thursday.
?? Out of the 7,000 workers in the country?s oil sector where oil production is just about three years old 80 percent of them are locals while foreigners make up the remaining 20 percent, Kwaku Boateng, Director for Special Services at the Petroleum Commission stated.
?? Addressing a Local Content Workshop organized by the commission, Boateng explained that the employees include those with International Oil Companies (IOCs) as well as service companies which are both local and international.
?? He however said the bulk of the employment was in the lower rungs of the opportunities available, and excludes people working at state-run Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Petroleum Commission.
?? Ghana?s Local Content Bill which is before parliament for passage is based on government?s objective to maximize national value creation along the petroleum value chain, through employment, value creation, and transfer of knowledge and technology.
?? The official however explained that the bulk of the jobs locals have in the sector were in the lower levels, including, drivers, cooks, and other artisanal jobs.
?? In the chat representing figures from 41 registered foreign and local companies in the sector, whereas there were a little more expatriates, than locals in top management positions, ?technical expertise is almost 50-50 between locals and foreigners,? Boateng disclosed.
?? The local content policy implementation in the sector so far focuses mainly on employment and supply contracts, with many local companies not being able to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts, due to capacity gap.
?? To turn the tide and make Ghanaian companies able compete with other international competitors, Boateng urged the IOCs to help build the capacity of local firms up to international standards to enable them ?create more jobs.
?? Ghana also seeks to use the oil and gas sector to diversify the economy bring more income to the country than the revenues from production.
?? The actualization of our local content ambitions will take some effort. This is because; creating jobs within petroleum exploration and production sector requires training of Ghanaians to take up more and more of the available jobs, said Deputy Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Benjamin Dagadu.
?? He said government had therefore embarked on a capacity building project with the support of the World Bank.
?? ?The objective of this project is to strengthen local technical skills in the oil and gas sector and also improve transparency in all aspects of public management of the oil and gas sector,? Dagadu added.
?? The deputy minister reiterated government?s shared belief that no economy has grown sustainably without addressing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.
?? ?Therefore the government of Ghana with support from the Jubilee partners has established the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) to develop the skills of SMEs so they can meet international procurement requirements,? Dagadu added.

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