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Gov’t to Make Petroleum Contract Agreements Public

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 The Deputy Minister for Energy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, has disclosed that government will next year introduce a public register of petroleum agreements, permits, and authorization.

This he said is to demonstrate government’s commitment to broaden the boundaries of transparency and information disclosure in the country.

According to him, this will allow the public to effectively scrutinize government and the authorities involved in the allocation of petroleum rights.

He made this disclosure at the launch of the Independent Oil and Gas Information Resource Centre (IOGIRC) yesterday in Accra.

Describing what will be included in the register, he said “The register will contain full text petroleum agreements, permits, authorizations, names of companies that bids for oil blocks, the winners of the blocks, and of course the justification for winning these blocks”.

According to him, the public register of petroleum, when introduced, will help government build a governance architecture that will hold all players involved in the exercise truly accountable to citizens.

This he said will also complement the work of the IOGIRC by providing holistic approach to information disclosure in the oil and gas industry.

Challenges

Meanwhile some critics have argued that the disclosure of petroleum agreement and other relevant documents will not empower citizens to demand accountability as such documents are often very technical and coded in legal terms.

In responding to the critics, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam said “it is the constitutional right of the citizen of Ghana to have access to information. It therefore places greater responsibility on the resource center to have all these documents but not only to publish but more importantly make efforts to simplify them into forms that are easily to understand and appreciate by our citizens.”

He further charged the management of the resource center to collaborate with Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) and the Ghana AITI to extend the services to frontline oil communities.

According to him, these are areas where lack of information can threaten the survival of the oil and gas industry.

By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum/ thePublisher

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