The government has been urged to expedite action on the passage of Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Law (BODL) to enhance transparency in harnessing the country’s natural resources especially in the oil and gas sector.
Dr. Steve Manteaw, the co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) who made the call in Accra on Tuesday said the BODL had become necessary to help identify the owners of companies operating in the oil and gas sector and ensure politicians did not secretly set up companies to control the oil and gas sector.
He stated this during a day’s workshop organised by the GHEITI and hosted by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), to discuss the post anti-corruption summit recently held in London.
President John Mahama, among others, pledged to ensure the establishment of a BODL when he participated in the UK Prime Minister’s summit in London in May on tackling.
Dr. Manteaw explained that studies he had conducted on some foreign companies, especially those operating in the oil and gas sector, indicated that they did not pay tax to the state, adding that some of the companies operating in Ghana had establish offshore companies which procure good and services for them and that had the tendency to promote insider trading.
Dr. Manteaw said those offshore companies inflated the prices of goods procured for their subsidiaries in Ghana.
This he said was contributing to the high cost of projects in the country and the enactment of the BODL would ensure that there is value for money for the allocation of oil blocks and contracts and the state got the necessary taxes from the oil sector.
Contributing the to the discussion, the immediate past executive director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Vitus Azeem called for an Independent Prosecutors’ Office and also the passage of the Right to Information bill into law in a bid to fight corruption.
The Majority Leader in Parliament, Alban Sumani Bagbin speaking on the topic “Ghana’s national anti-corruption action plan-What should citizens expect?”, said sections of the 1992 Constitution has to be amended in a bid to tackle corruption.
For instance, he said, the Constitution should be amended to give legal mandate to Parliament to initiate laws, and also emphasised that the general public should be involved in the discussion and campaign against corruption.
“The only way we can fight corruption is to build the capacity of the ordinary citizen and incorporate them on the dialogue on corruption,” he said.
The Deputy Director, Africa of NRGI, Emmanuel Kuyole said the workshop was to discuss the post London anti-corruption workshop.
By Kingsley Asare