WORKING TOWARDS INCREASED OIL REVENUE

When oil was discovered in commercial quantities a few years ago, many Ghanaians had high hopes of the country generating much revenue to boost the economy.

Many Ghanaians also hoped that the country would become a major oil exporter and, consequently rich overnight.

On the contrary, things have not turned out as expected, as the fortunes that many expected to come to the country are yet to materialise.

The situation has been worsened by the current low price of the commodity on the world market, resulting in dwindling revenue for oil producing countries worldwide.

Besides, Ghana’s situation has been blamed on the country’s inability to negotiate for high revenue from the existing oilfields.

Industry experts believe that the country is toying with its oil and gas finds by allowing foreign companies to benefit more than it is receiving all in the name of attracting investors.

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), tasked with monitoring and evaluating compliance in the management of the use of petroleum revenue has indicated that revenue generation from the Jubilee Oilfields were lower than expected.

Professor Paul Kingsley-Bassuah, chairman of PIAC has, therefore, urged the government to ensure that revenue generated from new oilfields are higher than that of the Jubilee Fields.

“The government should ensure that the Tweneboa-Enyera-Ntomme (TEN) oilfield, expected to begin full operation next year, yields higher revenue,” Prof Kingsley-Bassuah was quoted as saying at a lecture in Accra on Friday, on the topic, “Analysis of the use of Ghana’s petroleum revenue; 2010 – 14”.

The quality of Ghana’s oil benchmark from the Jubilee Fields should have increased the state coffers, he stated and argued for a more beneficial agreement with the companies which would engage in exploration in the TEN oilfields.

The Times cannot agree more with the PIAC, as many expects have argued along the same lines in the past. If the arguments by the experts are anything to go by, then we believe the country must take the necessary steps to correct the wrongs of the past.

We are certain that government and its institutions have learnt from the past and would correct all the shortcomings in the new agreements with oil exploration companies.

The high revenue expectations notwithstanding, many have also cautioned against the “resource curse” that has plagued many oil producing countries, making them poorer than they were before they found oil.

It is our hope and prayer that the government would adopt prudent and transparent management practices that would ensure that majority of Ghanaians benefitted from the natural resource wealth of the country.

The advice by PIAC is timely, and must be taken into consideration to ensure that we generate higher revenue from the TEN oilfields.

 

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