Build capacity to take up big contracts – Indigenous businesses told

BY: Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu
Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr., Ag. Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission
Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr., Ag. Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission

Ghanaian companies supporting the country’s offshore upstream petroleum operations have been challenged to endeavour to grab a chunk of the multi-billion dollar procurement contracts announced by international oil companies for next year.

This comes after all active international oil and service companies presented their plans to Ghanaian businesses at the procurement session of the just-ended Local Content Conference and Exhibition in Takoradi at the request of the Petroleum Commission, the regulator.

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Level playing field
The procurement session, a new addition to the conference, aimed to ensure full benefit for indigenous firms, and to create a level playing field, as well as guarantee a transparent process.

The Commission said the era where indigenous companies only got to know about available contracts after they were awarded is over, and its move was also to forestall the regular complaints from indigenous firms and address issues of lopsided information.

At the session, international oil companies and global service giants were provided the platform to present procurement plans and schedules, and to clarify their processes.


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Healthy joint ventures
Many of the big players advised the indigenous companies on areas they should focus on, critical areas that require the formation of healthy joint ventures to enable them win contracts as Ghanaian entities.

The Ag. Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr., warned companies not to enter into unhealthy joint ventures that exist only on paper for personal benefits, or front for others. He said the acts have negative effects on the industry and country.

“But, I must say that when a company wins a contract and we realise that the said company or companies have compliance issues, I can assure you that that company would not get the contract. Let me warn again that we take monitoring and evaluation very seriously”, he said.

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Mr. Kwasi Agyeman Manu Senya

Transparent process
The Commission, he said, has very open and transparent processes accessible to all.

He assured the gathering that the Commission would ensure full compliance, devoid of favour or political affiliation in the discharge of its functions.

The Head of Business Advisory and Enterprise Development Department of the Commission, Mr. Kwasi Agyeman Manu Senya, took the participants through the Commission’s processes and readiness to provide the needed guidance.

The Department, he said, is a tool to improve the international competitiveness of indigenous Ghanaian companies as outlined in Section 3(f) of the Petroleum Commission Act, 2011, which “mandates the Commission to promote local content and local participation in petroleum activities as prescribed by law to strengthen national development.”

Capacity development
He said as part of its functions, it would provide appropriate capacity development for indigenous small and medium scale Ghanaian enterprises, and support vendor/supplier development programmes.

The move, Mr. Senya said, would also lead to the creation of the appropriate platforms for indigenous Ghanaian companies to form strategic alliances or partnerships leading to their capacity development.

“As demonstrated, the move will ensure that through the department, available procurement opportunities and their requirements to indigenous Ghanaian SMEs would be communicated,” he said.

Sustainability
“I must say that development of indigenous Ghanaian SMEs equipped with skills and capabilities to meet international requirements in the upstream industry are very important to the unit and the PC as a whole,” he said.

“I can assure that we will not renege on our vision to promote sustainable and competitive upstream indigenous Ghanaian companies by providing appropriate capacity development and support to indigenous Ghanaian companies to position them to take advantage of business opportunities in the upstream petroleum industry”, he said.

The Manager in charge of Compliance at the PC, Mr. Rodney Acquah urged the companies to ensure objectivity in the award and execution of contracts.

“Companies must at all times comply with L.I. 2258 in the pursuit of upstream petroleum activities.”

He said the Commission is serious with issues of compliance and that “companies must at all times apply professionalism in the engagement of expatriates and the design of succession plans.” The companies, he emphasised need to be truthful in their submissions when applying for Petroleum Commission permits as well as demonstrate their commitment to support the Commission to achieve the standards required by L.I. 2204.”