pThe Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), has set up an oil and gas department in accordance with the Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations 2013, L.I. 2204.
The Act obligates players in the upstream petroleum sector to utilise the services of Ghanaian companies and individuals but the oil and gas companies are yet to break into the Free Zones programme.
Mr Michael Okyere Baafi, the GFZA Chief Executive Officer, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday, said the Oil and Gas Department would be responsible for promoting participation of local and foreign sector companies in the Free Zones scheme.
He said the setting up of the department formed part of efforts to reach out to the public and sell the opportunities in the Free Zone’s scheme.
It would also sensitise the public on the requirements needed to join the Free Zones and develop guidelines on the Standards Operating Procedures (SOPs) of companies in the oil and gas industry.
These guidelines aimed at developing practical arrangements that would enable both local and foreign companies to play a key role in compliance to the Free Zones Regulations and L.I. 2204.
Mr Baafi said the move was to foster business volumes of the companies and overall trade performance aimed at achieving the mandate of the Authority.
The department would also serve as a central wing for the activities of all oil and gas free zones enterprises by streamlining trade documentation and enhancing business processes.
“The rationale is to reduce costs, increase efficiency and project business results for all stakeholders in the Free Zones,” he said.
“It will also facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP) investments and joint ventureship between foreign and indigenous companies in oil and gas and the Free Zones Authority.”
Alhaji Muhib Musah, who is heading the department, said it would have closer collaboration with the Petroleum Commission, Local Content Unit, National Petroleum Authority, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana Gas, Association of Oil and Gas Service Providers and the Ministry of Energy.
He said it would receive and process applications from new or existing clients in the oil and gas industry intending to set up and operate in the Free Zones enclave.
It would also assist clients to deal with their challenges including authorisation and licensing through the collaboration with the other government agencies.
“We shall also hold regular inspections of the companies’ premises to ensure compliance,” he said. GNA