Opinions Fri, 21 Dec 2012

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The Jubilee Fields: Losses Suffered By Ghana

Fellow Ghanaians, while you celebrate your X’mas and New Year festivities, just ponder over this. Ghanaians have lost US$741,423,210 in the first year of operation of the Jubilee Fields under the Royalty Tax System Agreement instead of the Production Sharing Agreement.

Projected loss for 2012 operations is between US$800 million and U$1billion. This is where the technocrats, the politicians of the major ruling parties and GNPC have landed Ghana. Bogus rationalization and justifications have been put in the public domain to support why Ghana had to enter into such agreements, and you ordinary Ghanaians seem to be believing them. The few elite and academicians who, perhaps, understand the issues at stake are cowards and afraid to speak out. Is it likely they have been compromised? Or, just do not want to jeopardise their own self interests in the realms of the powers-that-be and the money bags who have arrived in town? Where are their ethics and conscience?

Ghanaians, do we have to fold our arms and look on helplessly and say the agreements have already been signed? The agreements can be reviewed, they cannot be sacrosanct. The next Parliament and incoming Government should seriously consider reviewing these agreements immediately to arrest these colossal losses to Ghanaians.

It is rather unfortunate to hear the Minister of Energy said the Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill would not be reviewed to include open bidding of oil blocks, which is the modern trend in the upstream oil industry. On the other hand, he said PNDC decree 84, which is more than 25 years old, was being reviewed to include modern trends as done elsewhere and yet he is not aware that open tender and competitive bidding of oil blocks is one major requirement in the upstream industry to prevent corruption and get the best deal. Chad, Niger and South Sudan, a country less than 2 years old, all new comers into the oil industry, are doing it.

The Ministry of Energy, GNPC and the politicians on the one hand and the foreign oil companies on the other hand, have all conspired to deceive the people of Ghana into believing that the way they are handling the upstream oil industry is the best for Ghana. So for the 1-2% shares the foreign oil companies are compelled to give to specially chosen “local partners,” crony front-men of the powers-that-be who do not contribute a dime or know-how in investment, the rest of Ghanaians are sold down the river all over again modern style!

Can God save ordinary Ghanaians from these politicians, technocrats, the clutches of greed and ineptitude? Or Ghanaians shall save themselves through popular agitation?

By: Solomon Kwawukume

Author, Ghana’s Oil and Gas Discoveries

Towards full Maximum Benefits


Columnist: Kwawukume, Solomon

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