The Petroleum Commission (PC) says it is committed to ensuring that more locals participated in the country’s oil and gas industry to improve their living conditions.

Mrs. Agatha Enos Armah, Contract and Procurement Administrator at the Local Content Department of the PC said here in Keta, located in the Volta Region, some 186 km east of Accra Thursday during an advocacy programme to sensitize the locals on ongoing exploration activities in the Keta Basin.

She observed the country missed an opportunity to fashion out appropriate local content legislation to regulate its mining and telecommunications sector as well as when it began commercial production of oil.

The negative repercussions according to her were dire as most locals in resource-rich communities lost out completely from benefiting from the industry in their own environs.

Mrs. Enos Armah assured the people the government has learnt from its past hence introduced the Local Content Law, L.I. 2204 to ensure more Ghanaians participated in the country’s oil and gas industry.

She urged local residents to prepare themselves by way of training to acquire relevant skills necessary to partake in the oil and gas industry.

“There are certain services like catering, fabrication, logistics, and procurement services among others that have been reserved for Ghanaians and so let us take advantage of the opportunity this time so that we equally benefit from the resource.”

The third quarter report of the PC indicates that a total of 776 companies have been registered to provide direct and indirect services for the oil and gas industry in the country.

Out of the figure, 480 are indigenous companies, 201 are foreign while 95 are joint venture companies.

A total of 6800 jobs, made up of 4905 Ghanaians representing 73 percent and 1890 expatriates representing 27 percent have been created so far.

The Contract and Procurement Administrator further emphasized the commission will among others continue with its advocacy and training programs to build the capacity of people as well as build on the challenges identified to promote local content in the country.

Togbi Dallah-Avege III, Chief of Anloga-Labati, near Keta asked the Ghanaian government to conduct and provide a detailed environmental impact assessment on exploration activities at the Keta basin to the people.

The Ghana government after commencement of oil production enacted the local content law, L.I. 2204 in 2014.

The legislation is geared towards a progressive and comprehensive integration of Ghanaian citizens into all aspects of the oil and gas industry to ensure the benefits of the industry are maximized for the citizens through education, skills and expertise development, the transfer of technology know-how and active research and development activities.

Mr. Rayborn Bulley, President of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), expressed his gratitude to the locals for their high level of participation towards understanding issues pertaining in the petroleum sector.

He assured his outfit was committed to ensuring more of such advocacy engagements with the people as that could greatly help in managing their high expectations.

The oil and gas advocacy programme was organized by the IFEJ with support from Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA), the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) and the PC. Enditem

By Francis Tandoh