Ghana joined the league of oil producing nations in the last quarter of 2010, leading to high expectations from both citizens and international observers.
The production of oil, with its concomitant problems, means that all stakeholders in the
industry must work hand-in-hand to ensure that the nation derives maximum benefits from the resource. Whilst the government has tentatively secured approval on what to do with the oil revenue vis-à-vis collateralisation, the leaders of the nation still remain divided on the general framework of laws regulating the oil industry.
In response to these and other debates that will surely characterise the course of the lifespan of Ghana’s oil, a group of professionals cutting across the political and other divides have formed the Ghana Oil Club— a club welcoming industry players, academics, civil society organizations and students into its fold.
Thus, to the various civil society and pressure groups, has been added a club which provides a platform for experts and other stakeholders to brainstorm on issues relating to the oil industry including legal matters, economic policy, technical issues and others.
While its interest relates generally to the oil industry, its focal objective according to Richard Hato-Kuevor, a director of the club, is “basically to look at the prudent use of the oil and gas revenues and the management of any possible environmental disaster by the government.”
According to Mr. Hato-Kuevor, there is the need to have in place an extensive developmental plan agreed on by all stakeholders that will guide the government in investing the oil revenue in the productive sectors of the economy.
Whilst the country has been advised by various bodies to steer off the crisis being experienced by countries like Nigeria as a result of oil production, Mr. Hato-Kuevor, speaking for the Ghana Oil Club, articulates that the country does not need to go as far as Nigeria to see the impacts that a mismanaged resource can have on a nation. He thinks that the mining industry in the country, which has been operational for over a hundred years, is the best example for the nation to learn from. “Our aim is to advise government so that the country does not repeat the mistakes in the mining sector” he adds.
The club, which has made inputs into the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, the Oil Spillage Contingency Plan, among other oil-related bills, is happy with the inclusion of a Petroleum Revenue Accountability Committee in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, saying that “the committee will serve as a check on the politicians”.