The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has launched an online platform to monitor petroleum contracts in Ghana to ensure accountability the petroleum sector.
The launch was also used to call on the Ghana government to review existing petroleum agreements and sanction non-compliant contractors as a way of raking in needed revenue to the state.
In a statement before the launch on Tuesday in Accra, the Head of Policy Unit of ACEP, Madam Pauline Anaman, observed that gaps existed in the enforcement of existing petroleum agreements, which was robbing the nation of huge sums of money.
“Among other reasons, the evidence pointed to poor due diligence done on the financial and technical competences of the companies during contract award processes,” she indicated.
The policy analyst informed that the gap was also because of lack of relevant, recent, and publicly available data on the performance of the companies to aid civil society and interested parties to track performance.
Madam Anaman observed that ACEP’s 2019 update of the contract monitor revealed no significant improvements from the 2017 findings with only two companies graduating into the compliance bracket.
She said this occurred because the companies failed to deliver on their contractual responsibilities since there was no competition for blocks, while all contracts monitored were granted based on an open-door policy.
The policy analyst also cited weak parliamentary oversight, poor track record of some companies, and political patronage of the said inefficiencies as other reasons for the failure.
In recognition of the accountability role the platform was going to play, Madam Anaman stressed that ‘The Ghana Contract Monitor’ was a representation of how far Ghana had come, “from the abyss of extractive contract secrecy, to the glory of contract transparency.”
She informed, however, that contract transparency was not enough in the wake of an era of open contracting, observing that ACEP intended to expand the scope of the Ghana Contract Monitor Platform to cover mining contracts.
“To this end, we call on the regulators of Ghana’s over a Century-old mining industry to legalize and implement international best practices on open contracting that achieves good accountability results at every stage of the mining value chain for meaningful development outcomes,” she added.
Madam Anaman said, to make the platform accessible to everybody, it included text to speech features to aid persons living with visual impairment in accessing it.
He charged the media and Ghanaians to be very interested in accessing information that would make them better informed to demand transparency and accountability in the extractive industry.
The Ghana Contract Monitor Platform is an online tool that provides updates on work progress of non-producing extractive sector companies who have valid agreements with the Government of Ghana to explore, develop, and produce petroleum and mineral resources in the country.
The rationale of the platform is to ensure that contractors do not hold Ghana’s blocks for speculative reasons, but rather make the necessary technical and financial investments that
would increase resource production for fiscal and non-fiscal benefits that drive the country’s development.
The Ghana Contract Monitor Platform started in 2017 as a simple study into the challenges and causes of inactivity over non-producing oil blocks in the country contrary to the contractual and legal obligations on contractors to make minimum financial and technical investments within specified periods.
The platform currently reports work progress of 14 operators in Ghana’s upstream oil and gas industry.